Food Industry Seeks Exceptions to Artificial Trans Fat Ban
As expected, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) has petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to allow certain specific “low-level” uses of artificial trans fats. The GMA petitioned the agency using the process by which food additives are approved, hoping to carve out exceptions to the FDA’s recent ruling that artificial trans fats are no longer “generally recognized as safe.” (See the September newsletter.) But that process can be complex and time-consuming, potentially stretching out close to the mid-2018 deadline for removing the fats.
In its petition, the trade association argued that artificial trans fats, in the form of partially hydrogenated oils, are no more dangerous to cardiovascular health in similar small amounts than the trans fats that occur naturally in meat and dairy products. Many of the proposed uses, the GMA maintained, would be in processing, contributing negligible amounts to finished foods. These include using partially hydrogenated oils as anti-caking, anti-dusting and “free flow” agents, as emulsifiers, solvents and lubricants. Other proposed uses include “consumer desired textural characteristics” such as dough flakiness, as well as dough strengthening, moisture retention and stabilizing.