Grassroots Action


May 1997

CSPI needs your help on our olestra campaign. Although olestra was approved by the FDA just over a year ago, it has already caused hundreds of consumers to suffer gastrointestinal problems.

On April 22, 1996, the test marketing of olestra began in three small cities with the introduction of Frito-Lay's Max chips. Later that year Procter & Gamble, the company that invented olestra, began test marketing Fat Free Pringles in Columbus, Ohio. Frito-Lay rolled out a new version, Wow chips, in Indianapolis, Indiana, in February 1997. A month later Procter & Gamble started selling olestra Pringles in Indiana. Finally, Nabisco has started selling olestra Ritz crackers and Wheat Thins in two small towns.

As a result of the test marketing many consumers have suffered severe gastrointestinal problems. More than 1,200 citizens have called CSPI's toll-free hot line (1-888-OLESTRA) to report everything from loose stools and severe diarrhea to painful abdominal cramping to stained underwear. The serious problems caused by olestra have been publicized in major newspapers and on television and radio newscasts.

In response to the problems caused by the fake fat, CSPI has formally petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to repeal the approval of olestra. Now, CSPI would like to ask you to help get rid of olestra.

We are asking concerned citizens to write their member of Congress, urging him/her to ask the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect the public by withdrawing its approval of olestra. A sample letter is attached, but it would be even better to write your own note.

Thanks for your help with this important campaign. If you want more information about olestra contact CSPI at 202/332-9110, extension 331, via e-mail, or check out our olestra site.