Ban trans fat?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned FDA to prohibit the use of partially hydrogenated oil, commonly referred to as trans fat, as a food ingredient.

The center also has launched a grassroots campaign to get food manufacturers to reformulate their products. Small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in beef and dairy products, but FDA estimates that the vast majority of trans fat consumed by Americans comes from partially hydrogenated oil added to promote shelf life.

Manufacturers will be required to list the amount of trans fat on the Nutrition Information panel of food labels by January 1, 2006. But CSPI says labeling won’t help consumers avoid trans fat in restaurant foods. It says removing trans fat oils from the food supply would save 11ꯠ to 30ꯠ lives a year.

The National Food Processors Assn. said CSPI’s petition was “the wrong way to address trans fat.” Pointing to the new labeling requirements and the availability of foods containing low or no trans fat, NFPA said what is needed is better consumer education on nutrition to help consumers use food labels and understand the benefits of a diet low in trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

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