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Margarine Rejects FDA’s Trans-Fat Rap, Says Butter Isn't Better

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 12:40pm
Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor

Margarine manufacturers are taking swings at the butter industry as the Food and Drug Administration continues its crusade against trans fats.

The National Association of Margarine Manufacturers submitted comments on March 7 to the FDA, urging the agency to “stop inaccurately classifying margarine products as a category high in trans fat.”

NAMM’s statement came in response to the FDA’s announcement that it intends to remove Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status from partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), essentially banning the ingredient.

PHOs, a source of trans fat, have been commonly used in margarine products, but NAMM argues that most margarine products have already removed the ingredient.

“We support FDA’s efforts to encourage more healthful eating, but for FDA to continue to categorize margarine as a major contributor of trans fat is not only factually inaccurate, it creates unintended, unhealthful consequences for consumers,” said NAMM President Richard Cristol.

Margarine consumption has taken a hit in recent years as butter has reached its highest consumption level in the United States in 40 years.

Anuja Miner, Executive Director of the American Butter Institute, attributes this migration to a shift in preferences from processed foods and artificial ingredients.

“Margarine and other spreads are no longer viewed as healthier alternatives,” Miner said.

NAMM maintains that margarine is the healthier option because butter is high in saturated fat. According to NAMM, Americans over the last decade have added an annual average of another half-pound of saturated fat to their diets through butter consumption alone.

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