The American Baker’s Association (ABA) issued a 56-page comment responding to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) proposal to revoke the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in an effort to reduce the amount of trans fats in our diets. The ABA contends the FDA’s proposal will have the “unintended consequence” of making several baking ingredients, for which there are no viable functional alternatives, illegal. Moreover, the ABA’s comment challenges the notion that the very low levels of trans fats now consumed by Americans truly presents a health and safety concern.
ABA suggests that instead of taking the action currently contemplated by the FDA’s proposal, the rules should be changed for declaring trans fats in the Nutrition Facts Panel on food products, and specifications should be set for the quantity or percentage of trans fats in the total fat in finished foods. ABA also asserts that certain uses of PHOs should be declared GRAS – particularly where such uses contribute negligible amounts of trans fats to the diet.