Trans fat to be listed

Beginning January 1, 2006, food manufacturers must list the amount of trans fat in the Nutrition Facts panel on the food package.

Trans fat will be listed under saturated fat. No daily intake level will be given because the National Academy of Sciences and other groups have said that currently there is insufficient scientific evidence to set such a level. Consumers are urged to eat a minimum of both trans fat and saturated fat.

This is the first significant change to the Nutrition Facts panel since it was mandated in 1993. Mindful of the negative publicity surrounding the artery-clogging fat form, some companies have already either reduced the amount of trans fat or listed its amount on product labels. The new requirement applies only to packaged food and does not apply to foodservice products.

Although small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in some foods, most trans fat is produced when vegetable oils are hydrogenated. Its use became popular in the 1980s as an alternative to saturated fat, which also poses significant health risks.

FDA also issued an advanced notice of proposed rule making, indicating it will collect information and data that might be used for nutrient content claims related to trans fat that would help consumers make healthier eating choices.

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