Is olestra a safe food additive?
Olestra is a fat-based substitute for conventional fats. FDA approved olestra on Jan. 24, 1996, for use in certain snack foods. The agency requires all products containing olestra to be labeled with specific health information. Procter & Gamble Co. developed olestra, which it is marketing under the trade name Olean. Because of its unique chemical composition, olestra adds no fat or calories to food. Potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips, or other snacks made with olestra will be lower in fat and calories than snacks made with traditional fats. Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools in some individuals, and it inhibits the body’s absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients. FDA is requiring Procter & Gamble and other manufacturers who use olestra to label all foods made with olestra and to add essential vitamins–vitamins A, D, E, and K–to olestra. As a condition of approval, Procter & Gamble will conduct studies to monitor consumption as well as studies on