FDA proposes trans fat nutrition labeling

In a move that could lead to significant changes in nutrition labeling requirements, FDA proposed the amount of trans fatty acids, or trans fat, be included in the nutrition facts panel on food labels.

Trans fat raises the level of harmful (LDL) cholesterol and is associated with higher risk of heart disease. Trans fat is used to increase shelf life and flavor stability in many food products.

Under the proposal, when trans fat is present, an asterisk would be placed after the saturated fat listing on the nutrition panel to direct consumers to a footnote which states “includes _ g trans fat.” The footnote would be optional on foods that contain no trans fat (½ g per serving or less), except when a fatty acid or cholesterol claim is made.

Labels on foods containing more than 4 g of saturated fat and trans fat combined per serving could not include health claims, although they could bear nutrient content claims provided they say, “See nutrition information for saturated fat content.”

In its proposal, FDA requested comments on various labeling issues, including labeling the amount of trans fat separately.

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