A.B.A. agrees with F.D.A. timeline to remove phos

The American Bakers Association said it agreed with a three-year timeline to get partially hydrogenated oils out of products, but it wished the Food and Drug Administration had followed another rule-making process.

The F.D.A. on June 16 finalized its determination that partially hydrogenated oils (phos), the primary dietary source of industrially produced trans fat, are not Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use in human food. Food manufacturers have until June 18, 2018, to remove phos from their products. Any interested party may seek food additive approval for one or more specific uses of phos by providing data demonstrating a reasonable certainty of no harm of the proposed use or uses, according to the F.D.A.

“A.B.A. is disappointed that F.D.A. chose a novel approach to address partially hydrogenated oils through a GRAS determination instead of a more appropriate formal rule-making that requires thorough economic, environmental and small business impact analyses,” the Washington-based A.B.A. said in a June 16 statement. “Short changing the regular rule-making process deprived F.D.A. of critically important stakeholder feedback and data collection. A.B.A. supports F.D.A.’s intent of further reducing exposure to trans fats and applauds its members for their tremendous efforts over the past decade to significantly reduce Trans fats in bakery products.

“Nonetheless, A.B.A. is pleased that the agency was responsive to its strong recommendations for an orderly transition by providing a three year compliance period. This action provides bakers and other food makers adequate time to further formulate to other, healthier alternatives as well as address a number of practical challenges including packaging changes and availability. A.B.A. and its members are appreciative that F.D.A. recognizes the complexity of this issue.”