WILL RESTAURANTS BE FORCED TO PROVIDE NUTRITION ANALYSIS?
Federal legislation was introduced which would force some restaurants to provide calories, fat and sodium content of the foods they are serving. The bill would apply to standard menu items offered by chains with 20 or more outlets. http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/ news/nation/7103044.htm
FDA TRANS FAT RULING IMPACTS FOOD & BEVERAGE MANUFACTURERS New Nutrition Facts Panels Required For All
As a result of the FDA’s long-awaited trans fat announcement, all food and beverage manufacturers will be required to identify trans fat content on their nutrition facts panels by January 1, 2006. The FDA decision requires that products with trans fat be analyzed, and their panels be revised accordingly. Products containing less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving that do not make any claims regarding fat, fatty acid or cholesterol content can declare trans fats as zero. Alternatively, they can eliminate the trans fat line and note “not a significant source of trans fat” at the bottom of the table of nutrient values.
"To be cost effective in modifying their panels, manufacturers should complete their analyses before they need to reprint labels,” says Nutritional Solutions Owner, Abby Gerstein, RD, CDN, CNS who has been compiling a comprehensive database of foods with trans fats for nutritional analysis. “The 30-month lead time also affords manufacturers the opportunity to reformulate their product in order to reduce or eliminate trans fat as desired,” stated Gerstein.
Foods containing trans fat, which research now attributes to heart disease and increased LDLs, are made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils such as vegetable shortening or margarine. Trans fat is created when hydrogen is added during processing to liquid oil such as vegetable oil. Hydrogenation causes the hydrogen atoms to be on opposite sides of the double carbon bond. This in turn changes the liquid fat into a solid form, increasing shelf life and flavor stability. Naturally occurring trans fats are found in smaller amounts in dairy products, beef and lamb.
According to the FDA, the average person consumes 5.8 grams of trans fat daily representing 2.6% of their caloric intake. The majority of this comes from baked goods (bread, cookies, crackers, cakes and pies), animal products (dairy and red meat), margarine, fried potatoes, savory snacks (chips and popcorn), household shortening, salad dressings and then some breakfast cereals and candy.
For a free consultation, manufacturers can contact Nutritional Solutions at 888-905-FOOD (3663) to determine whether or not their product contains trans fat. For an informative question & answer section about trans fats, go to www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qatrans2.html.
UPDATE ON TRANS FAT LABELING
The food industry continues its wait for the FDA to release its final trans fatty acid labeling regulation sometime in 2003. Nutrition facts panel compliance is expected no later than January 1, 2006. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/label.html Similar to the format of the Nutrition Facts panel legislated in Canada on January 1 of this year http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/food-aliment/ns-sc/ne-en/labelling-etiquetage/e_nutrition_labelling_and_nutrie.html (with a 3-5 year compliance requirement dependent on the company’s volume of sales), it is expected that the FDA will require a new line for trans fat declaration under Total Fat (similar to the current line for saturated fat).
According to information on the FDA site http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/fr02n15b.html, the upcoming label line for trans fat will not include a % Daily Value (DV). Instead, it will contain an asterisk or other similar symbol associated with a statement indicating that consumers should minimize their intake of trans fatty acids.
Denmark has become an innovator in trans fat regulations by enforcing restrictions on the use of industrially produced trans fatty acids. As of June 1, 2003, oils and fats containing more than 2% trans fats will be forbidden. As of December 31, 2003, the restriction will also apply to oils and fats in processed foods. These regulations will apply to Danish and foreign manufactured products. Other European Union countries are examining Denmark’s rationale for possible adoption of similar measures in their countries. http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/news.asp?id=7519
THE US STAND ON GMOs
The United States has filed a World Trade Organization case against the European Union "over its illegal five-year morotorium on approving agrigultural biotech products". http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/news.asp?=7605
While, according to US Trade Representative, Robert B. Zoellick, "Biotech food helps nourish the world's hungry population, offers tremendous opportunities for better health and nutrition and protects the environment by reducing soil erosion and pesticide use," the European Union is scrutinzing the issue further. http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/news.asp?id=7596