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In comments submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) opposed the addition of a footnote statement to the Nutrition Fact box advising consumers to reduce their trans fat consumption as much as possible.

The FDA's proposed rule would require all nutrition labels containing trans fat information to bear the footnote statement, "Intake of trans fat should be as low as possible." FDA based this proposed rule on a recent Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences report on macronutrients such as fats, carbohydrates and proteins. GMA opposes the suggested footnote statement on the grounds that it is misleading, inaccurate and incomplete. The report referenced by FDA went on to state that reducing trans fat intake to zero would be virtually impossible without leading to other nutrient deficiencies.

"Incorporated into the current Nutrition Facts panel, the FDA's proposed footnote statement would lead consumers to believe that trans fat should be avoided entirely, while implying that saturated fat is safer for consumers," said GMA Director of Scientific and Nutrition Policy Alison Kretser, MS, RD. "This is absolutely the wrong message to send to consumers."

"A footnote statement on the Nutrition Facts panel is the inappropriate place to convey details about trans fat consumption," added Kretser. "Instead, the FDA should focus on providing consumers with facts about total fat consumption as part of their overall diet and caloric intake in a broader consumer nutrition education program."

GMA supports the addition of trans fat content to the Nutrition Facts panel in a manner similar to that of sugar and protein content where no Daily Values or footnote statements regarding consumption recommendations are listed. Additionally, GMA will continue to work with the FDA to find the best way to alert consumers to the importance balancing key nutrients - including fats, proteins, carbohydrates and others - in their total diets.
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