SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North AmericaEU edition | Asian edition

News > Regulation

Read more breaking news

 

 
Special edition: Oils & fats

Bakers on trans fat crackdown: 'There are uses of PHOs that FDA wasn't aware of'

By Elaine Watson+

30-Jun-2014
Last updated on 30-Jun-2014 at 14:20 GMT2014-06-30T14:20:23Z

Bakers on trans fat crackdown: 'There are uses of PHOs that FDA wasn't aware of'

On the face of it, the FDA’s proposal to revoke the GRAS status of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) - the source of most of the ‘artificial’ trans fats in the US food supply - seems like a no-brainer. But there are other ways to crack down on trans fats without causing formulation nightmares, claims the American Bakers Association.  

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the IFT show in New Orleans, ABA senior vice president government relations & public affairs, Lee Sanders, said that we tend to think of PHOs as frying oils, or hard fats used for baking.

But a blanket ban would also have the “unintended consequence” of rendering several technical/functional ingredients that contribute trace amounts of trans fats to finished foods - but are critical to bakers - as illegal, she said.

"There are uses of PHOs that FDA wasn't aware of."

For example, some PHOs used to encapsulate bioactives or protect heat sensitive substances contribute “negligible amounts of trans fat to the daily diet” but have “no functionally equivalent replacements”.

Meanwhile, some PHOs are used as starting materials for ingredients such as mono- and di-glycerides, which also contribute only trace amounts of trans fat to finished products, she added.

The law of unintended consequences

Similarly, while interesterification (where the structure of oils is chemically or enzymatically re-arranged in order to give it different properties) is often touted as an alternative to partial hydrogenation as a means of making liquid oils more solid, “most people don’t know that the source oils used in the interesterification process are often modified by hydrogenation before the process is performed”, Sanders told FoodNavigator-USA.

Lee Sanders: The devil is in the detail

The resulting structured fats are not PHOs, but if PHOs used as starting materials are no longer GRAS, ”then industry will not be able to use these to produce some of these interesterified fats”, she said.

From a legal perspective, meanwhile, has the FDA presented compelling evidence that further reductions of trans-fat below current intakes will make such a material difference to the risk of coronary heart disease that regulatory action is justified? she asked.

There are practical alternatives to blanket PHO ban

So what, if anything, should the FDA do?

One option is that the FDA could declare certain uses of PHOs as GRAS, particularly where such uses contribute negligible amounts of trans fat to the diet, she said. It could also:

1 - Change the ‘rounding rule’ for declaring trans fats on the Nutrition Facts Panel (which allows firms to state ‘0g trans fat’ if a food contains less than 0.5g/serving). Instead, FDA could change the rules such that firms could only make this claim if their products contain less than 0.2g per serving.

2 - Establish nutrient content claims for trans fat and establish disclosure and disqualifying levels for trans fat.

3 - Set specifications for the quantity or percentage of trans fat in the total fat in finished foods or set specifications for the percentage of trans fat allowed in PHOs.

4 - Declare certain uses of PHOs as GRAS, particularly where such uses contribute negligible amounts of trans fat to the diet (e.g., emulsifiers such as mono- and di-glycerides, encapsulates, colors, flavors, spices, processing aids) or because they are in infrequently-consumed foods (e.g., ready-to-use frostings, fillings, coatings).

Related products

Bright Farms helps retailers provide fresh, local produce year around

BrightFarms helps retailers provide fresh, local & safe produce year around

For shoppers today, buying groceries is all about fresh and local – which can...

Granola and healthy children’s products bright spots in cereal

Granola and healthy children’s products are bright spots in cereal category, Barbara’s says

It is no secret that the cereal aisle is struggling with Euromonitor estimating a...

Dissolvable Tea Drops brings consumers to premium tea category

Dissolvable Tea Drops brings more consumers to premium tea category by offering convenience

The demand for tea in the US is skyrocketing, but so too is the...

CideRoad: Switchel meets demand for bolder flavors

CideRoad: Switchel meets demand for bolder flavors

The sweet but tart taste of switchel can be polarizing, says Cide Road founder...

Safe Catch entices consumers to canned tuna with low mercury product

Safe Catch entices consumers back to canned tuna category with low mercury product

Despite doctors’ recommendations to eat more fish for its many health benefits, many consumers...

Veggie fries have mass market appeal, says Farmwise

'Consumers love French fries, but they are looking for healthier alternatives'

Farmwise frozen veggie fries contain 30% vegetables and beans, and 70% potatoes, and have...

Nomva probiotic fruit snacks: We perform best in the juice set

Nomva probiotic fruit snacks: We perform best in the juice set

With more fiber than cold-pressed juice (4-5g per serving), plus a dose of probiotics...

At Expo West 2016, RiceBran Technologies launches NukaCha smoothie

Expo West 2016 Debut: RiceBran Technologies launches smoothie-on-the-go NukaCha

Riding the wave of smoothie enthusiasm, Arizona-based RiceBran Technologies launches… powder in a bottle?

Trendspotting at Expo West: Almond Flour, purple corn, jica chips

Trendspotting at Expo West 2016: From purple corn porridge to jicama chips

At Expo West 2016, companies large and small were reimagining pantry staples, from savory...

YouBar platform makes mass customization a reality, says CEO

YouBar platform makes mass customization a reality, says CEO: 'We have no minimum order quantities'

Whether it’s a mug with your beloved pet’s picture on it, or a bespoke...

Saturated fat guidelines out, food guidelines in?

Get rid of nutrients and focus on foods in guidelines, says sat fat researcher

Benoit Lamarche

Saturated fat researcher, Laval University

'It's business as usual': Davisco Foods on Agropur takeover

'It's business as usual': Davisco Foods on Agropur takeover

Polly Olson

Vice President of Business Development, Davisco Foods International

Snack trends 2014: Euromonitor says popcorn and thins

Euromonitor: Popcorn and thins epitomize ‘indulgence without the guilt’

Popcorn has exploded and thins have sliced into action in snacking – both riding...

InHarvest: Legumes, pulses steal spotlight from animal protein

At the 2014 Research Chefs Association Conference & Culinology Expo, FoodNavigator-USA caught up with...

SFA head: ‘A little term called class action suits’ is prompting GMO removal

SFA head: ‘A little term called class action suits’ is prompting GMO removal

Genetically modified organisms are safe and there is a need and place for them...

Could oats be the next gluten-free star?

Could oats be the next gluten-free star?

Oats, when the supply chain ensures no cross-contamination, are a gluten-free cereal grain. So...

Fed up: Probiotic research veteran issues global call to action

Fed up: Probiotic research veteran issues global call to action

Veteran probiotic researcher professor Gregor Reid is not a happy man. It’s time the...

GMO-free Cheerios: Did General Mills buckle to consumer pressure? Will the move backfire?

GMO-free Cheerios: Did General Mills buckle to consumer pressure? Will the move backfire?

General Mills’ move to go GMO-free on its flagship Cheerios brand has caused quite...

Key Industry Events