June 2, 2006 – In order to avoid a lawsuit from a consumer-interest group, Frito-Lay will tweak the labeling on its line of potato chips containing the controversial fat-substitute olestra.
The faux fat, also known by the brand name Olean, contains molecules too large for the body to digest and has been associated with intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.
As previously reported by The NewStandard, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) had threatened to sue Pepsi-owned Frito-Lay after the company switched the name on its olestra-laden snack line. The name change came after the FDA rescinded a requirement that companies warn consumers of olestraâ€™s possible side effects, and CSPI speculated that Frito Lay was attempting to disassociate its low-fat chips from the previous olestra warnings.
Under a settlement between Frito-Lay and CSPI, the company agreed to make its olestra labeling more "transparent" by posting the Olean logo and the phrase "made with olestra" more prominently.
"Weâ€™re pleased that Frito-Lay agreed to these modest changes, which are sufficient to avoid a lawsuit and will help consumers who know enough to avoid Olestra to do so," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson in a press statement about the settlement.
The company will not, however, include a warning on chip packaging about possible side effects of olestra. Instead it will credit Olean with the low-fat attributes of the chip line, so consumers unaware of the productâ€™s potential side effects will remain in the dark.