ABA led a coalition of food industry organizations in a meeting with OMB on May 30 to discuss the coalition’s support for FDA’s public health goals but expressed concerns with the suggested approach of a PHO Tentative GRAS Determination Notice (TD). The Coalition recommended withdrawal of the notice and proposed that OMB should direct FDA to instead go through formal rulemaking which would include the safeguards, assessments and data required for such a significant action.
The Coalition pointed out to the significant progress the industry has made over the past decade to reformulate their products, and the ones that remain are the hardest reformulations with no healthier profile options available currently.
The Coalition challenged the assumptions upon which the limited FDA cost benefit analysis memo (CBA) were based and indicated to OMB that little to no public health benefits may be derived from FDA’s action if a safety threshold could be established. The coalition also discussed that current exposures are at safe levels and that FDA’s assessment inaccurately portrayed the current consumption levels. The group noted that ILSI’s safety threshold research will be complete in July.
The coalition pointed out that there are alternative approaches to lower PHOs and trans in the diet that were not considered in FDA’s limited CBA memo.
FDA’s proposed action would have significant detrimental impact on small to medium enterprises that must rely on supply chain.
Additionally in the meeting, NOPA indicated that the US soybean farmers’ acreage demands will suffer greatly, negatively impacting the domestic market.
The Coalition also discussed alternative actions including trans fat reductions by lowering the labeling threshold, as well as encouragement to consider other alternative approaches (i.e., allow use for incidental additives use where there is a very low level of PHOs and no significant health impact).
Industry Coalition participants included a good cross-section of the supply chain including the American Bakers Association; American Frozen Food Institute; Snack Food Association; National Confectioners Association; National Restaurant Association; National Oilseed Producers Association and the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils.