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FDA commissioner speaks out.

"The food industry should face the fact that most percent fat-free' claims, as they are currently presented, are nothing more than a marketing gimmick." Thus spake Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. David Kessler during his keynote speech last June at the National Conference on Diet and Health.

Manufacturers who claim that their product is "97 percent fat-free," or any percentage less than 100 percent, are simply misleading the public, Dr. Kessler said. Such claims are inappropriate, and the food industry should drop them, he declared.

Many fat-containing foods (ice cream and frozen yogurt, for example) are made up largely of water. To claim that they are "low-fat" is, therefore, misleading, because their fat content may account for much of the calories they provide. If a frozen yogurt, for example, truthfully claims to be 96 percent fat-free," the six grams of fat it contains in one serving is three times the amount that the FDA allows in a "low-fat" food.

"The FDA will systematically seek out partial truths and misleading statements on the American food label," said Dr. Kessler. He noted in his speech that one major manufacturer has already voluntarily agreed to drop such claims in its food products.
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Title Annotation:David Kessler on 'percent fat-free' claims
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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