Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Trans Fat Labeling Laws Go Into Effect

In May 2003, California attorney Stephen Joseph filed a lawsuit against Kraft, targeting the trans-fat content of Oreo's. The issue became front-page news. Jay Leno, Rush Limbaugh and a host of other media personalities weighed in, many seeing the lawsuit as ridiculous at the time.

Joseph was on Good Morning America when he heard that Kraft had agreed to remove trans fats from their cookies amid the sudden blaze of publicity. And two months later, the FDA announced new labeling rules.

These new FDA trans-fat labeling rules go into effect January 1, 2006 and some lobby interest groups are stating it's long overdue... while others are saying it's not enough.

For example, check out for their comprehensive review of the new trans-fats labeling rule.

To understand the importance of this issue, one needs to know what trans fats are and why it's important for us to be aware of them.

Trans fat is formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine. They have effectively been linked to higher blood levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease.

When you consider that according to the American Heart Association, 70.1 million Americans suffered from heart disease in 2002 (34.2 percent of the population), and the mortality figure was 0.93 million (930,000 deaths)... ...the new laws may not be everything they need to be for the uninformed consumer ...but they are at least one small step in the right direction.