As of January 1. 2006 the new federal trans fat labeling laws go into effect. A number of questions have swirling around what the labeling laws actually mean. An article in today’s New York Times answers a number of them.
Many people are under the impression that as of this Sunday every food on grocer’s shelves will have the trans fat content on its label. Not the case. The new law requires that any new labeling done after that date have the trans fat content listed. Many manufacturers have countless labels already printed that it will be perfectly legal to use until they run out and have to reprint.

Although some companies won’t have the new listing on labels until they use remaining label stock, most have made the change. F.D.A. officials said the agency will contact companies that aren’t properly labeling products…

What can you do if you see a product that you know contains a trans fat but isn’t labeled as such?

If consumers see an improperly labeled product, the F.D.A. recommends that they take a direct approach. “They might want to call the companies themselves,” said Dr. Barbara Schneeman, director of the F.D.A.’s office of nutritional products, labeling, and dietary supplements.

Good luck.
If the label lists trans fats, it’s obviously complying with the new law. If it doesn’t have a listing for the category Trans fats, then the company is still using the old labels.
What about restaurants? Do they have to list trans fats on their nutritional labeling?

The F.D.A. regulations don’t cover restaurant food, much of which is fried in oils that contain trans fat or are prepared with it.

As far as I’m concerned, the best way to avoid trans fats is to avoid processed food altogether and limit your forays into the restaurant world. I’m a firm believer that the single best thing you can do for your health is to spend more time in your own kitchen.


  1. Hi Doc…I really enjoy your blog.
    I was doing some shopping this morning…and came across a product with the trans fat label. It was a lo carb coffee creamer. However, thanks to you and Mary Dan, I have learned to read labels….and this supposedly non trans fat product has listed partially hydrogenated oils.
    Hmmmmm….very curious….
    Isn’t that a trans fat?

  2. Completely Off-topic:
    I’ve read through all the archives on here but really didn’t see much addressing the actual carbs in “low-carb” except the passing mention of your typical low-carb fruits.
    It’d be great to get more insight on the good carbs from time to time and also address the issue of getting enough fiber for a healthy digestive system.
    Just a couple suggestions. Thanks for the great reads!

  3. If the product contains less than a gram of trans-fats per serving, they can round down to zero. You still need to check the ingredients, because the food companies will play games with unrealistic serving sizes to get to that zero transfats label.

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