News Room

GMA Petitions FDA to Approve Low-Level Uses of Partially Hydrogenated Oils

GMA Press Contact

Brian Kennedy

office: 202-639-5994

(Washington, D.C.) The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) today announced it has petitioned the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to approve specific low-level uses of partially hydrogenated oil (PHOs) in food products.

In a food additive petition filed with the FDA, GMA said the scientific evidence will enable FDA to find there is a "reasonable certainty of no harm" from consumption of PHOs from the uses and use levels specified in the submission.

“Our food additive petition shows that the presence of trans fat from the proposed low-level uses of PHOs is as safe as the naturally occurring trans fat present in the normal diet,” said Dr. Leon Bruner, GMA's chief science officer. “It’s important to know that food and beverage companies have already voluntarily lowered the amount of trans fat added to food products by more than 86 percent and will continue lowering PHO use to levels similar to naturally occurring trans-fat found in the diet.”

GMA’s food additive petition provides the most current information about the amount of trans fat consumed in U.S. diets today. It is based on a comprehensive and highly detailed analysis of the latest scientific information available.

The petition seeks approval of PHO uses that are important for the production of safe food products. Examples of proposed uses include use as color and flavor carriers and to deliver certain consumer-desired textural characteristics that other oils cannot provide (e.g., flakiness in doughs). PHOs also function as essential processing aids such as pan release agents so that products do not stick to baking trays and rollers during the manufacturing process.

FDA announced on June 16 its final determination that it was changing the regulatory status of PHOs from Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) to that of a food additive. This determination requires food manufacturers to submit a food additive petition for safe uses of PHOs and to phase out the uses of PHOs that are not included in a food additive petition by 2018. 

When the FDA made its tentative determination on GRAS status for PHOs in late 2013 it encouraged the food industry to submit a food additive petition for proposed safe uses of PHOs. FDA is currently reviewing GMA’s food additive petition to confirm that it has all the necessary information for the agency to complete its evaluation.

GMA noted that FDA’s determination on PHOs on June 16 does not mean that trans fats have been banned, as has been erroneously reported. Trans fats occur naturally in beef, milk and other dairy products, and these naturally occurring trans fats will not be affected by the FDA action.


Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe. 

Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders. 

In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year.