| Comment Record|
Mr. Gil Boldt ||
2002-12-16 13:05:55 |
ConAgra Dairy Foods |
| Comments for FDA General |
1. General Comments
Dear Sir or Madam:
ConAgra Dairy Foods Group appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal to require the statement “Intake of trans fat should be as low as possible” on the Nutrition Facts panel when trans fat is listed. While ConAgra Dairy Foods Group supports the FDA’s decision to require the mandatory declaration of trans fat content on a separate line within the Nutrition Facts Panel, we are deeply opposed to the proposed footnote statement.
ConAgra Dairy Foods Group supports the FDA’s role in providing information to the public that is readily observed and easily understood. However, we believe the proposed footnote will potentially cause consumers to alter their diets resulting in a decrease of beneficial nutrients and/or increase in the consumption of saturated fat.
Our objections to the proposed footnote are outlined below:
1. Consumers will alter their diet to avoid trans fat and not consume sufficient levels of needed macronutrients and micronutrients.
Intake of trans fat should be as low as possible footnote tells consumers that no level of trans fat is acceptable for consumption, and hence, any product containing trans fat should be avoided. However, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) report states “recommended that trans fatty acid consumption be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet”. The omission of the phrase “while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet” can lead to incorrect changes in the diet. The IOM states to eliminate trans fat would introduce undesirable effects…. and unknown and unquantifiable health risks. Reduction in the consumption of products such as meat and dairy are key sources of protein and other micronutrients.
2. Consumers will alter their diet inappropriately relative to saturated fat.
The proposed label can potentially lead to a dramatic shift in the consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol while consumers are attempting to reduce trans fat consumption as low as possible. According to the agency:
FDA does not want to distract consumers from years of consumer education
messages about saturated fat, especially because the average intake of saturated fat exceeds the average intake of trans fat by about fivefold (approximately 25g versus 5 g/day, respectively.
64 Fed. Reg. 62746, 62755 (Nov. 17, 1999).
The comparison of a serving of a typical tub margarine/spread product like a 70% vegetable oil spread against a serving of butter clearly illustrates the great potential for consumer confusion and undesirable response.
70% Veg Oil Spread Butter
Total Fat 10 grams 11 grams
Saturated Fat 2 grams 7 grams
Trans Fat 2 grams* 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 milligrams 31 milligrams
*Intake of trans fat should be as low as possible
The use of the footnote may shift consumption toward a diet high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. This is contrary to the direction from the National Cholesterol Education Program and the American Heart Association. Denke further recognizes in her research paper when butter was replaced with margarine resulting in the following changes:
% Change Adults (n=92) % Change Children (n=134)
Cholesterol -17.6 -11.3
Triglycerides -10.8 -1.8
LDL-C -15.7 -11.2
HDL-C -.1 .15
Consumers may incorrectly change their diet as a result of “Intake of trans fat should be as low as possible” while failing to realize the effects of other macro and micronutrients.
In summary, ConAgra Dairy Foods supports identification of trans fat on the label as a separate line item but we are opposed to the cautionary statement. We feel consumers will respond to Intake of trans fat should be as low as possible footnote and not be aware of while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet”. We feel the issue of trans fat is too complex for a single footnote and consumer education is needed on dietary guidelines for trans fat consumption in order to assist consumers in understanding the amount of trans fat that may be ingested in a nutritionally balanced diet.
ConAgra Dairy Foods Group urges the FDA to keep the separate line highlighting trans fat but withdraw the proposed footnote statement. Trans fat labeling should be supported through an effort to educate consumers about the current dietary guidance for trans fat consumption.
Thank you for your consideration.
Vice President of R&D/Quality
ConAgra Dairy Foods Group