Trade and markets


United States of America
Commodity Group
Oilseeds, oils and meals
Trans fatty acid
Policy Category
Policy Instrument
Food standards & food safety policies
Assessed the impact of the country\'s labelling regulations and dietary guidelines on nutrition.
A study undertaken by the United States Department of Agriculture, assessed product turnover in the U.S. food industry and looked into implications for nutrient content – focusing on three health-relevant ingredients: salt, sugar and fat. Upon examining product entries and exits in high-turnover food categories (i.e. breakfast cereals, yogurts, snacks and refrigerated/frozen meals), it emerged that, over the 2008–2012 period, sugar content has either fallen or remained unchanged in all five categories, while sodium content was gradually reduced in four categories. By contrast, saturated fat content has increased by statistically significant amounts in the four food categories that contain fat in meaningful quantities. Reportedly, these contradictory trends support the contention that policies focusing on reducing a single nutrient (such as salt) may not lead to overall healthier products as food manufacturers may compensate for deterioration in taste by increasing levels of other nutrients (such as fat). As for trans fatty acids, the study suggests that new federal labelling regulations and dietary guidelines have effectively reduced the trans fat content of US food products. Claims by some researchers that trans fats have for the most part been replaced by saturated fats are not corroborated by the study.