Legislation involves notation next to 0 grams trans fat

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — Representative Steve Israel of New York on Oct. 8 introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would clarify how some retail food packages labeled as having 0 grams of trans fat per serving actually may have up to 0.5 grams trans fat per serving. The Food and Drug Administration currently requires retail food manufacturers to round down to 0 grams trans fat per serving on their product labels when a product has under 0.5 grams trans fat per serving.

Bill No. HR 3783 from Mr. Israel would require manufacturers to use an asterisk or other notation to indicate that foods may actually contain some trans fat per serving even if the label says 0 grams trans fat per serving.

"When the American Heart Association recommends that individuals limit their trans fat content to less than 2 grams per day, we cannot afford to be so lenient in labeling requirements," Mr. Israel said. "Only in Washington does 0.4 plus 0.4 equal zero.

"Now, I’m not proposing a ban on trans fat, but we should give consumers the necessary information to make informed nutrition choices. That’s what my legislation, the ‘Trans Fat Truth in Labeling Act,’ would do."

The American Heart Association supports the legislation.

"This improved labeling regulation will help consumers make wise food choices based on a more accurate product label and save thousands of lives," said Judith Wylie-Rosett, A.H.A. spokesperson.

Studies have shown trans fat lowers H.D.L., or good cholesterol, and raises L.D.L., or bad cholesterol. The F.D.A. on Jan. 1, 2006, began requiring food manufacturers to list trans fat content on U.S. retail food labels.

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