FDA gives food industry 60 days to chew the fat

In a move that may have the processed food industry blubbering, the FDA is attempting to require premarket approval for partially hydrogenated oils.

The FDA published a notice Nov. 7 in the Federal Register announcing its preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils no longer are considered “generally recognized as safe.” Partially hydrogenated oils are a source of artificial trans fats used in many processed foods. Trans fats have been linked to increased levels of low-density lipoprotein and cardiovascular disease.

“If FDA makes a final determination that PHOs [partially hydrogenated oils] are not GRAS [generally recognized as safe], the agency and food industry would have to figure out a way to phase out the use of PHOs over time,” the agency wrote in a notice to consumers. “To help address this concern in an appropriate manner, the Federal Register notice calls for comment on how long it would take the food indus­try to phase out its use of PHOs.”

If partially hydrogenated oils lose their standing as generally recognized as safe then manufacturers will need to receive FDA premarket approval to include them in food products.

The public has 60 days to comment on the notice.