The Cookies are Crumbling: FDA Cracking Down on PHO

Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are not generally recognized as safe, according to a determination issued by the Food and Drug Administration. The final stages of the determination that originated in 2013 involved a lengthy review by the science community, accompanied by a public comment period. PHOs are generally found in processed foods such as ready-made frosting, and baked goods and are used for their unique freshness capabilities.

Statistics from the FDA suggest a significant decline in the general population’s consumption of PHOs in recent years; thus, it might appear that the public may not be too concerned with the aftermath of the upcoming compliance period.

However, food manufacturers are in for a costly transition in order to be in compliance at the conclusion of a proposed three-year compliance period. Not only will additional research and testing need to be implemented, but new packaging, new product lines or reformulation strategies may need to be developed in order to comply with the limitations on PHO use.  Ultimately, some companies may eliminate product lines as cost saving measures, rather than implement expensive conversion tools.

It has been proposed that after the three-year compliance period, no PHOs would be permitted in food intended for human consumption, unless separately approved by the agency.

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