Whelan and Simmons on Fat

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"There is always going to be greasy, fried, salty, sugary food...It is up to the individual to walk in and say 'I don't want those fries'...anyone who's trying to sue the fast food places needs a therapist, not an attorney."

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), paraphrasing diet guru Richard Simmons, as noted by the July 23 Wall Street Journal

Each additional attempt to reformulate food or add another label to existing food in response to government mandates or public fears increases food production costs.

ACSH's own Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, in her new TechCentralStation.com article on trans fat hysteria (read the whole piece here).

Responses:

July 30, 2003

Dr. Whelan laments the added cost of labeling trans fat on foods. Her point is well taken. Frivolous calls for labeling are not in the best interests of the consumer. However, labeling of trans fat is not frivolous.

One cannot identify the presence of trans fat in food by its taste, aroma, or mouth feel. Thus, the only sure way to know it is there is to put it on the label. Labels are important when knowledge of the content has a nutritional impact, and you cannot obtain the information easily in any other way.

But an even more important benefit to labeling trans fats is that by the time the label becomes effective I predict very few foods will contain trans fat. That will be the true benefit of the requirement to label this nutritionally-inferior food component.

Phyllis Stumbo
Research Nutritionist
General Clinical Research Center
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa