CSPI Calls for FDA Crackdown Against Deceptive Trans-Fat Claims

'0 Grams Trans' Labels Mislead Consumers about Foods High in Artery-Clogging Saturated Fat


The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) today urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take enforcement action against companies making misleading trans-fat claims on food labels. CSPI says that any claim of “0 grams trans” on foods high in saturated fat is inherently misleading, since consumers might think such a product is good for one’s heart health. Manufacturers such as Sara Lee, Mrs. Smith's, and Nestle misleadingly label several of their products "0 grams trans," even though they have 4 to 11 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat. The FDA considers 4 grams and up to be a high level of saturated fat.

“Just because a food doesn’t have any trans fat doesn’t by itself make it a health food,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “Companies shouldn’t foster confusion by making trans-fat claims on foods high in saturated fat, and the FDA shouldn’t let them get away with it.”

The products described in CSPI’s complaint are:

* Mrs. Smith's Apple Pie: A prominent red banner over the brand name states "0g trans fat per serving." One serving of the product contains 7 grams of saturated fat.

* Mrs. Paul's Crunchy Fish Fillets: A banner stating "0 grams trans fat per serving" appears directly above the brand name. One serving of the product contains 5 grams of saturated fat.

* Spectrum: Organic All Vegetable Shortening: A yellow highlighted batter stating "0 grams trans fat" appears on the front label. One serving of the product contains 6 grams of saturated fat.

* Nestle Crunch Ice Cream Bars: A banner over the large-print word "Crunch" states that there is "0g trans fat!" One serving of the product contains 11 grams of saturated fat.

* Sara Lee Pumpkin Pie: The label states that the product has "zero 0g transfat." One serving of the product contains 4 grams of saturated fat.

The FDA currently prohibits food companies from making “saturated fat free” claims for foods that have virtually any trans fat. CSPI says the agency should have a corresponding rule prohibiting "0 grams trans" claims on foods high in saturated fat. 

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