This is the first significant change to the Nutrition Facts part of the food label in the decade since it was established. On July 9, 2003, the FDA finalized a rule requiring that trans fats be clearly listed on all foods and supplements by January 1, 2006. They project that this change in labeling will save hundreds of lives a year.
Trans fats are common in foods kids eat, including fried foods like French fries, and in many baked goods (cookies, pastries, crackers, chips etc.).
While you are waiting for the new labels to take effect, you can often find the trans fats by looking for ‘partially hydrogenated’ on the ingredient lists. Kids don’t need partially hydrogenated anything! Many fried and baked goods used to be made with lard, but concerns over saturated animal fat caused a switch to tropical oils such as palm oil or coconut oil. However, these are just in high in saturated fats – which must be placed on the food label.
Then manufactures began injecting hydrogen into unsaturated fats, to thicken them into artery-clogging trans fats that don’t need to appear on the Nutrition Facts. Liquid oils and unsaturated fats are far healthier for kids.
I’m excited about the new label change, because it will give parents the information they need to make wise choices for their families.