April 26, 2018

Congressman Steve Israel Reintroduces Trans Fat Labeling Bill

Back in 2007, Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced a bill that would close a food labeling loophole. That loophole lets food manufacturers use a “0 trans fat” label on foods that do contain trans fat.

As long as there is less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the deceptive label is applied. At that time, the American Heart Association recommended that consumers eat no more than 2 grams of trans fats per day. We now know that there is no known safe level of trans fat consumption. He reintroduced the bill to Congress last month.

Food LabelObviously, the problem with that loophole is that most people eat more than one serving of a product at one time. For instance, a small bag of popcorn usually contains two servings, but most people eat the entire three ounces. With that deceptive label on a product, consumers must know that if the ingredient list has “partially hydrogenated oil”, the product could have 0.49 grams of trans fat, which is way over the amount that is actually put on the label. Remember, there isn’t a safe level of trans fat consumption.

Trans fats have been linked to 10,000 to 20,000 heart attacks in the U.S. every year, and 3,000 to 7,000 deaths from heart disease. The fake fats are also linked to strokes, increasing LDL cholesterol levels (the bad kind), reducing HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind), and type II diabetes.

Congressman Israel said in a statement, “I am extremely pleased to hear that the FDA is taking a crucial step toward eliminating artificial trans fats in our food supply, which is sure to lead to a drastic reduction in heart disease in the U.S. For many years now, I’ve been advocating for a more transparent labeling system, so consumers understand the amount of trans fats they are ingesting and have the information they need to make healthy choices,”

The FDA is moving to ban trans fats altogether by removing it from the Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) list, but that move is not guaranteed. You can visit the Federal Register to comment on this proposal and make your feelings about this issue known.

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