FDA Allows Qualified Health Claim for Oleic Acid Content


Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in a November 19th release that the FDA responded positively to a petition to allow edible oils containing high levels of oleic acid to include a qualified health claim on labels.  The statement will read, “Supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggest that daily consumption of about one and one-half tablespoons of oils containing high levels of oleic acid may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” 


The claim will also require clarification that the benefit is only achievable if oleic acid “replaces fats and oils higher in saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories consumed in a day.”  To meet their criteria of the qualified health claim edible oils must contain at least 70 percent oleic acid.  Commercial oils derived from sunflower, high oleic acid safflower, canola oil in addition to olive oil will qualify for the claim.


The petition cited seven clinical studies evaluating the relationship between consumption of oils containing high levels of oleic acid and improved cholesterol levels which may cut the risk for coronary heart disease.  It is noted that one of the seven studies showed no significant effect and that consumption of high oleic acid containing oils will only beneficial if they replaced oils with a higher saturated fatty acid content.