Trans fat -- found in nearly 40 percent of packaged foods -- including vegetable shortenings and many snacks -- are said to raise the LDL or so-called "bad" cholesterol level. Trans fat also is suspected of contributing to diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
Basically, trans fat is created when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and stability of food flavors... and is used by many restaurants to fry food.
The government-appointed Dietery Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends limiting consumption of trans fat to about 2 grams per day -- including naturally occurring trans fat in dairy and meat.
Under the Food and Drug Administration's new labeling law, labels also must include "in plain English" eight foods that can trigger some food allergies. Those foods are: wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts, treenuts, soy, fish and crustaceans like crab and lobster.
The FDA says the eight covered allergens cause 90 percent of the documented food allergy reactions.