Around this time last year, the FDA revoked the GRAS status of partially hydrogenated oils as a way to eradicate artificial trans fats from the US food supply.
“Based on the available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the [FDA] has made a final determination that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils…are generally recognized as safe,” the agency said in a release last year.
The agency gave companies three years to phase the ingredient out, but some companies, like ConAgra, are doing it sooner.
Under fire before
“ConAgra began transitioning away from PHOs in 2006 and has removed the vast majority from the company’s portfolio by using a variety of ingredients and preparation techniques that maintain the foods’ taste,” the company said in a press release.
Shortly after the FDA revoked the GRAS status of PHOs, food manufactures were faced with a flurry of lawsuits, ConAgra among them.
In response to a class action filed against it for saying its “Crunch 'n Munch” has “0g trans-fat,” ConAgra said that trans-fat labeling is a matter for the FDA, not the courts, by urging a California court to throw out the lawsuit, Troy Walker et al v. ConAgra Foods 4:15-cv-02424.
According to the press release, ConAgra’s Fleischmann’s, Blue Bonnet, and Parkay spreads will no longer contain partially hydrogenated oils starting with those manufactured June 2.
“Our goal is to continue to provide our consumers with great tasting food made with high-quality ingredients at reasonable prices,” said Colleen Bailey, brand director, ConAgra, in the press release. “We are pleased to have removed PHO from our spreads well in advance of the FDA’s timeline.”
"Extensive research by ConAgra’s R&D team to optimize the PHO-free formulas lead to considerable process changes and equipment modification, as well as the use of a variety of ingredients and preparation techniques that maintain the spreads’ attributes, performance and shelf life," Colleen Bailey, brand director, ConAgra, told FoodNavigator-USA.
"The alternative oil selected depends on the particular spread we are making. Our goal is to continue to provide our consumers with the great tasting food made with high-quality ingredients at reasonable prices," she added.