Bush Administration Calls for Labeling Trans Fat
The Bush administration is asking the FDA to "quickly finalize" proposed rules calling for the labeling of foods containing "artery-clogging" trans fat, the AP/Chicago Sun-Times reports. The FDA in 1999 proposed that producers of foods containing trans fat -- which "many doctors consider more dangerous to the heart than saturated fat" -- disclose on their labels how much of the fat is in their products. But the proposal has never been finalized, and FDA officials on Tuesday refused to "explain the holdup," the AP/Sun-Times reports. Currently, consumers have no way to know how much trans fat is in their food. In a letter to the FDA written Tuesday, John Graham, head of the White House Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said, "This rulemaking appears to be a tremendous opportunity for the FDA to address the nation's leading cause of death -- coronary heart disease -- and save thousands of lives." The letter is "highly unusual," the AP/Sun-Times reports, and represents "the first time the [OMB] decided to publicly nudge the [FDA] to hurry up." The FDA estimates that disclosing the trans fat on labels would save between 2,000 and 5,600 lives per year, and that the United States "would probably" save billions of dollars in health care costs. A "federal health spokesperson" said that "officials would consider Graham's letter," the AP/Sun-Times reports (Neergaard, AP/Chicago Sun-Times, 9/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.