Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) has reintroduced a bill (H.R. 3612) that would require clearer labeling of trans fat on food packaging.The move follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils, a major source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not deemed generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in food.
Current regulations, which permit food companies to label products that contain partially hydrogenated oils as having 0 grams of trans fat if the value per serving is 0.4 grams or less, have been criticized by Israel and others, who point out that consumers can unknowingly exceed the recommended consumption of trans fat by eating multiple servings of a product containing 0.4 grams in a day.
Israel’s legislation would amend this regulation to require manufacturers to indicate that a product contains less than 0.5 grams trans fat by using an asterisk in the “amount per serving” column and a note at the bottom of the label explaining that the product “contains less than 0.5 grams trans fat.” Foods not containing trans fat could still list “0g” on the label. See News Release of Rep. Steve Israel, November 7, 2013.