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

It's time to put whey and casein back together, exec says

It's time to put whey and casein back together, exec says

Cutting milk proteins apart has been all the rage in recent years. But Benoit...

Lotito Foods’ Folios could revolutionize how consumers use cheese

Lotito Foods’ Folios could revolutionize how consumers use cheese

Consumers walking down the dairy aisle at a typical grocery store see a wide...

Numi Organic Tea rides rising wave of turmeric’s & matcha’s popularity

Numi Organic Tea rides rising wave of turmeric’s & matcha’s popularity

Matcha and turmeric continue to rise in popularity as consumers and manufacturers embrace the...

Manufacturers increase pulse consumption 2016 with bean-based snacks

Manufacturers answer FAO’s call to increase pulse consumption in 2016 with new bean-based snacks

In declaring 2016 the year of the pulse, the Food and Agriculture Organization of...

Taste Test Friday: Banza chickpea pasta with One Hop Kitchen Bolognese

Taste Test Friday: Banza chickpea pasta with One Hop Kitchen Bolognese offers a twist on a classic

On the menu for this edition of Taste Test Friday is a blind sampling...

Kids, claims and variety – the key opportunities for snacks growth

Kids, claims and variety – the key opportunities for snacks growth

Families, ingredient claims, and variety in packaging and flavors have been flagged up as...

Lallemand’s Lafti L10 may aid URTI symptoms in elite athletes

Probiotics in sports nutrition? Lallemand’s Lafti L10 studied for immune support in athletes

A double-blind, placebo controlled study on elite athletes found that the dairy-derived Lactobacillus helveticus...

Green Sheep Water positioned as bottled water with a green conscience

Green Sheep Water taps into demand for sustainability as a bottled water with a green conscience

Sustainability and environmentally-friendly claims are becoming increasingly influential among consumers with recent research from...

Packaged cold brew coffee gains traction, has room for more players

Packaged cold brew coffee is gaining traction, & still has plenty of room for additional players

Cold brew coffee is creating quiet the buzz in the US with new brands...

The rise of ‘ethical claims’ and their marketing potential

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: The rise of ‘ethical claims’ and their marketing potential across categories

Consumer demand for products and companies that “do good” – such as donate a...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Consumers' evolving taste for chocolate

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: How is consumer interest in health reshaping how they choose chocolate?

Consumers’ increasing demand for healthier options is reshaping the competitive landscape across categories –...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Five trends spotted at Summer Fancy Food Show

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Five trends spotted at Summer Fancy Food Show

With thousands of startups, innovators and established brands packed into one convention center, the...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: What GMOs are & how they impact health & Earth

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: What are GMOs and how do they impact the health of humans and Earth?

With the effective date for Vermont’s GMO labeling law officially here and the debate...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Quinoa’s rise & the challenges it must address

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Quinoa’s rise to superfood superstar status and the challenges it must address

Quinoa was one of the first superfoods to take America by storm more than...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Overcoming challenges in plant-based innovation

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: How can stakeholders overcome challenges facing plant-based innovation?

Sales of plant-based alternatives to animal products may be growing fast, but the road...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Growing sales of plant-based products

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Strategies for growing sales of plant-based products

When many mainstream consumers think of plant-based alternatives to animal products they think of...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: What is driving the booming sales growth of plant-based products?

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: What is driving the booming sales growth of plant-based products?

Sales of plant-based alternatives to animal products are booming, thanks in large part to...

Hartman Group, MSL Group, talk Millennials and food

PODCAST: What makes Millennials tick?

While many Millennials feel that their vote won't make much difference, they are far...

Key Industry Events