Friday, July 14, 2006

The FDA and the Distortion of Language

I recently had the startling experience of discovering that NO when applied to ingredients in health food products does not mean zero--and this courtesy of the FDA--you know the same sort of people who brought us catsup as a vegetable. I had purchased a healthy energy bar at my health club and one reason for doing so was that the bar said "No Trans Fats". My wife noticed that the ingredients indicated there had to be trans fats in the bar. So I called the company up and accidentally got the president on the line. I asked him none too kindly why his bars were saying no trans fats when they manifestly had trans fats in the them. He danced around the issue for a moment and then said that the amount was so small that the FDA allowed them to say "No Trans Fats" on the wrapper. He did a little research and found out that his bars actually contained .025% trans fat and that wrapper lingo was mandated by the FDA. Now I don't know about you but I don't equate "No Trans Fat" with .025% trans fat. Perhaps another bar has 000.10 trans fat. I would like to know so I can compare and chose the bar with less trans fat but nooooooooooo, the FDA in its wisdom has decided that this amount is equivalent to zero.

It is this distortion of language that results in such monumental idiocies as ex-President Bill Clinton's famous, "It depends on what you mean by is." or the sickening decoupling of cause and effect in the OJ Simpson case. ( How a man could be acquitted in a criminal trial and convicted in a civil trial is a piece of lunacy that only the nut jobs in the legal profession could concoct.)

Truth allows the customer to make decisions relevant to his or her health. Letting the FDA usurp this privilege is a recipe for fascism.

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