US food processors have opposed the addition of a footnote about trans fats to the "Nutrition Facts" box on food labels there.
Both the National Food Processors' Association (NFPA) and the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) said that the FDA's proposal could inadvertently mislead consumers.
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."
Representatives from NFPA and GMA expressed similar positions: that the new label would emphasise trans fats at the risk of reducing consumer awareness of saturated fat.
Dr Rhona Applebaum, Executive Vice President of NFPA, cited a 1999 workshop 'Fat in the American Diet: The Science and the Policy,' saying "Academic participants in the workshop expressed concern that trans fatty acids information provided on the Nutrition Facts panel would lead consumers to focus only on trans fat and forget about saturated fat. This would likely be the case if the Agency proceeds with its proposal."
The GMA signalled a willingness to support addition of trans fats to the Nutrition Facts box in a manner similar to sugar or protein, for which no Daily Values or footnotes about consumption are currently listed in the US.
NFPA and GMA represent food and consumer goods manufacturers, the group upon whom the effects of the proposed label change would be most felt.
In both Europe and the US food processors are coming under increasing pressure from consumers and consumer lobby groups to clearly label trans fats. There is a large amount of scientific research that points to this type of fat as being a major cause of heart disease, which now accounts for mounting efforts to raise awareness.