Consumer Group Hails FDA’s Decision To Label Trans Fat

Statement of Margo G. Wootan, D.Sc.,
Senior Scientist for Center for Science in the Public Interest
on the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule to label trans fat on Nutrition Facts labels
Washington, DC

In 1994, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to require that trans fat — the type of fat created when vegetable oil is hardened into margarine and shortening — be included with saturated fat on food labels. Below is Margo G. Wootan’s statement on the FDA’s long-awaited proposal on trans fat labeling.

“Trans fat labeling will expose the phantom fat in our food. There are two kinds of artery-clogging fats in foods. Labels show one kind — saturated fat — but don’t show the other kind — trans fat. Because of their hidden trans fat, margarines, cookies, crackers, doughnuts, french fries, and other foods often contain twice as much heart-damaging fat as food labels reveal. Although it’s included in the total fat, the amount of trans fat isn’t included with the other heart-damaging fats on food labels.

Trans fat labeling will provide consumers with an important new tool that will allow them to judge which foods are ‘heart healthy’ and which are not. Labeling is crucial because both trans fat and saturated fat increase blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, the number one cause of death for American men and women.”

Trans Fat Labeling Proposed by the FDA

The old label shows only one kind of artery-clogging fat—saturated fat.
 The new label would show both types of artery-clogging fat—saturated and trans fat
Note: Labels can voluntarily disclose mono- and polyunsaturated fat, but the FDA proposal doesn’t require that they be listed.