Docket Management
Docket: 94P-0036 - Labeling of Trans Fatty Acids
Comment Number: EC -35

Accepted - Volume 68

Comment Record
Commentor Mr. Stuart Vander Heide Date/Time 2002-12-16 16:20:06
Organization Holland American Wafer Company
Category Company

Comments for FDA General
1. General Comments REGARDING:Footnote on the Proposed Nutrition Label advising consumers to eat as little trans fat as possible We are a very small company and hardly have enough time to give an appropriate response to your proposal. Since the deadline is today, we are doing our best to present you with this email. We would like to comment on the Footnote (intake of trans fat should be as low as possible) Itself as follows: 1. it is a de facto warning label 2. it essentially establishes a Daily Value of zero 3. it communicates a message of do not consume trans fats to the consumer 4. it conveys a message of concern well beyond that justified by the science 5. the proposed footnote, intake of trans fat should be as low as possible omits the qualifying phrase included with this statement in the IOM Macronutrient Report, while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet 6. the proposal does not propose to change FDA's position that trans fat levels below 0.5g are considered zero for labeling labeling purposes, yet as low as possible is zero 7. The IOM report includes CLA in the definition of trans fat; FDA does not. This affects the triggering of the proposed footnote The footnote is misleading and will create unintended consumer behavior so please consider: 1. The IOM report treats saturated fat and cholesterol no differently with respect to the Upper Level concept as well as the recommendation to keep consumption as low as possible, yet FDA is singling out trans for the footnote 2. The footnote will take consumer focus away from lowering intake of saturated fat. (Present the margarine v. butter example) 3. The footnote will be generally confusing to consumers among the other material on the nutrition label. (Has FDA consumer tested this footnote?) The stigma attached to this footnote will push food processors toward the use of more saturated fat to replace trans fat in order to maintain product appeal and mean consumer demand for organoleptic and convenience characteristics. We believe that the footnote is very likely unconstitutional because of the following: 1. The footnote is misleading 2. Wooley v. Maynard -- regulations that compel speech must be calibrated to advance a substantial government interest 3. Central Hudson -- government must show that its regulation is not more extensive than is necessary to achieve its purposes 4. International Dairy Foods Association v. Amestory -- a government regulation the functional equivalent of a warning is unlikely to pass muster absent a compelling public health justification. We belong to the Biscuit and Cracker Manufacturers Association and have been informed that you have recently presented them withe the following questions to which we would like to try to answer. The key questions that FDA asked the B&CMA to answer are these: ** Do you (the industry) have any consumer data to support your argument that this footnote will harm consumers, that it will cause them not to buy foods with any trans fats? ANSWER: No, we are a small company and do not have the resources for this type of data. ** The FDA urged us to provide it with any marketing data that address consumer protection. Do you have an alternative suggestion for what the label/footnote should say? Can you provide alternative language? ANSWER: How can you begin making suggestions to ALL consumers with a recommendation that may only pertain to a subset of consumers? What about other dietary concerns? ** What evidence do you have that this proposal, if adopted, will cause food producers to reformulate their products in a “bad” way (by, for example, using more saturated fats)? ANSWER: The proposed language will encourage reformulation. Sincerely, Stuart S. Vander Heide President HAWco HOLLAND AMERICAN WAFER COMPANY 3300 Roger B. Chaffee Memorial Drive SE Grand Rapids, MI 49548-2367 Telephone (616) 243-0191 x123 Fax (616) 243-5681

EC -35