The Food Police Re-Emerge..............

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Tue May 13 06:58:12 MDT 2003

Suit Seeks to Ban Kids From Eating Oreos

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Kids in California may have to give up their Oreos, if
a lawsuit filed by a San Francisco public interest lawyer is successful.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Marin County superior court, seeks a ban on
the black and white cookies, arguing the trans fats that make the filling
creamy and the cookie crisp are too dangerous for children to eat.

Stephen Joseph said he filed the suit against Nabisco, the maker of Oreos,
after reading articles that said the artificial fat is hidden in most
packaged food, though consumers have no way of knowing.

The big difference between this suit and others that have targeted tobacco
and McDonald's fast food is that consumers know that tobacco is bad for
their health and that McDonald's food contains a lot of fat, Joseph said.

"Trans fat is not the same thing at all. Very few people know about it," he
said, explaining that his suit focuses on the fact that trans fats are
hidden dangers being marketed to children.

Nabisco officials were not immediately available for comment. They have 30
days from the May 5 filing date to respond to the suit.

The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, which advises the
government on health policy, said last summer that this kind of fat should
not be consumed at all. It is directly associated with heart disease and
with LDL cholesterol, the 'bad' kind that accumulates in arteries.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture said partially hydrogenated
vegetable oils, which contain trans fats, are present in about 40 percent
of the food on grocery store shelves. Cookies, crackers, and microwave
popcorn are the biggest carriers of trans fats, which are created when
hydrogen is bubbled through oil to produce a margarine that doesn't melt at
room temperature and increases the product's shelf life.

The Food and Drug Administration has tried to force food companies to list
trans fat content with other nutritional information on food packages, but
manufacturers have challenged the rule. Even food labeled "low in
cholesterol" or "low in saturated fats" may have high percentages of trans

Informing customers about trans fats on food labels could prevent 7,600 to
17,100 cases of coronary heart disease and 2,500 to 5,600 deaths per year,
the FDA has estimated.

Joseph said he has targeted Nabisco because, while other major snack food
makers have reduced the amount of trans fats in their products, Nabisco has

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