Thousands of Groceries Claiming ’0 Trans Fats’ Actually Contain Them

A new study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that at least 27 percent of 84,000 foods in grocery stores contain artificial trans fats, known to have a well-documented connection to heart disease. Even foods that claim to contain zero trans fats are believed to contain the artery-damaging, commercially-made oils. The EWG also estimates than an additional 10 percent of the 84,000 foods is likely to contain trans fats, making the total more likely to be 37 percent or over 31,000 foods.

Only two percent of the foods indicate on the label that they contain trans fats while the remaining 35 percent label the foods as being free of trans fats. Without correct labeling of trans fats, consumers have no way to make informed decisions for their health. Additionally, thousands of food labels mislead consumers with their faulty advertising claims.

The organization also assessed 7,500 foods to determine how many contained partially hydrogenated oils and found that a whopping 87 percent contained these harmful oils despite what their labels indicate. The labels of over 6,500 of these foods indicated no trans fats at all in the products.

Current labeling laws allow food manufacturers to “round-off” the amount of trans fats and partially hydrogenated fats in their products so many companies “round-down” to zero even when the foods contain these damaging fats. But the undisclosed and hidden amounts add up quickly in most peoples’ diets. The information presented in the EWG’s new study is based on earlier data the organization collected in the development of its Food Scores app.

The World Health Organization currently recommends that adults eating a 2,000 calorie daily diet obtain a maximum of 2 grams of trans fats daily. The maximum amount for children whose brains and bodies are developing is much less according to the EWG: “A few slices of frozen pizza and a packaged cookie or two can spike a child’s trans fat intake to unhealthy levels.”

The organization cites the following products as the “worst of the worst”, containing 5 grams or more of trans fats per serving—more than double the WHO maximum amount per day.

  • Jays Kettles Old Fashioned Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
  • Key Food Popcorn Kettle Corn Sweet & Salty
  • Krasdale Microwave Popcorn Movie Theater Butter
  • Pop Secret Popcorn (Butter, Extra Butter, Homestyle, Jumbo Pop Movie Theater, Kettle Corn, Movie Theater Butter, Old Fashioned flavors)
  • Popz Microwave Popcorn Movie Butter
  • Sealectables Cedar Plank Alaskan Salmon
  • Shop Rite Popcorn (Theatre Style, Whole Grain Kettle flavors)
  • Springfield Microwave Popcorn Kettle Corn Style

Other organizations believe that the even the 2 gram daily maximum set by the WHO is too high. EWG notes that according to The Institute of Medicine, there is “no known health benefit… [and] no safe level” of trans fats.

New York City played a major role in helping to reduce the amount of trans fats in food products when it passed legislation requiring the discontinuation of any food item containing more than 0.5 grams of trans fats from being stored, used, or served in food service establishments effective July 1, 2008.  However the regulation did not apply to foods served in the manufacturer’s original sealed packaging.

While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires trans fats to be labeled on food packages, they continue to allow food manufacturers whose products have less 0.5 grams to be labeled as “0 grams.”   And, as the EWG study found, thousands of food products continue to contain these hidden trans fats.  Until the FDA requires all trans fats to be labeled on packaged foods, the only real way to reduce your exposure is to prepare whole foods from their original state, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.

Related:
The Dirty Dozen Cleaning Products
10 Surprising Household Ingredients That Cause Obesity

99 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey2 years ago

Strange. For most of us "NO TRANS FATS" means none, zero, notta. Leave it corporations and their incredible lobbying power can they mean that "no transfats" is really a lie and get away with it.

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Anteater Ants
Anteater Ants2 years ago

I would recommend... you know what...

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

thanks

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Vikram S.
Vikram S2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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william Miller
william Miller2 years ago

thanks

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Vikram S.
Vikram S2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

We're all being conned by food industry - again

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Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thanks for posting

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