Labeling and regulating foods with artificial trans fats

July 19, 2007

Testimony by Goldie Caughlan, PCC Nutrition Education Manager, before the King County Board of Health, supporting a ban against artificial trans fat in restaurant food and to require nutritional information on restaurant food.

To the members and alternates of the King County Board of Health,

Greetings.

My name is Goldie Caughlan, and my position is Nutrition Education Manager for PCC Natural Markets. PCC Natural Markets is the nation's oldest natural foods cooperative (established in 1953), and also the nation's largest natural foods member based food cooperative, with six stores in Seattle, plus stores in Issaquah, Kirkland and Redmond, serving nearly 40,000 member households.

We are writing (and I will be testifying today) to heartily support the intent of the two above noted proposals, one regarding the requirements for nutrition labels on chain restaurants in King County, and the other, as pertains to the regulation of trans fats in certain restaurants in King County.

As a foods retailer, we have dealt with the subject of trans fats in foods. For several years more than 99 percent of all of our products were essentially trans fat free, with the only exceptions being a few minor ingredients in some products.

As of last year we are pleased and proud to say PCC Natural Markets successfully eliminated all products with trans fats. This was accomplished by selective product ordering, and also by communicating our decision and choices to suppliers. In most cases, suppliers reformulated their products — and when this did not happen, we found alternative suppliers.

We have received overwhelming support from our customers — both the general public and our membership — for eliminating trans fats. It is helping our customers make healthier food choices for themselves and their families. That is why we urge the BOH to enact effective trans fat regulations for restaurants, as outlined in the current proposal under consideration.

Our delis do not currently provide nutrition information on products in that department. However, we are currently in the process of securing such information for all deli foods, and have committed to making this information available to the public very soon.

We are very aware that our shoppers, both members and the general public, want nutrition information on their prepared foods just as they expect to find such information on grocery products sold at retail. We believe that is a reasonable and responsible expectation, and an effective means of monitoring healthful eating. That is why we urge the BOH to enact nutrition label requirements currently being considered.

Thank you for your efforts!

Goldie Caughlan
PCC Natural Markets, Nutrition Education Manager

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