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FDA warns Hain subsidiary on labeling of vegetable fat

The Food and Drug Administration has warned a Melville-based organic food maker for misleading consumers about cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat in its vegetable shortening.

Spectrum Organic Products Inc., a unit of The Hain Celestial Group, of Melville, made unsupported health claims on the labels of its Organic All Vegetable Shortening, the FDA said.

"You should take prompt action to correct these violations," the FDA said in its Feb. 22 warning letter.

"Failure to do so may result in regulatory action without further notice. Such action may include, but is not limited to, seizure or injunction."

The front panel on the shortening container "shows that the product has no trans fat, but it doesn't have a disclosure statement to alert consumers that the product has significant levels of saturated fat and total fat," the FDA said.

"The product makes nutrient content claims such as 'cholesterol free,' 'less saturated fat than butter,' and 'good source of ... monounsaturated fat,' but does not meet the legal requirements to make these claims," the FDA said. The mislabeling is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA said.

A spokesman for Spectrum Organics, headquartered in Petaluma, Calif., did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Spectrum must comply with the federal regulator's findings by outlining plans to correct the violations and prevent similar problems; and by sending the FDA revised labels for the shortening.

The shortening, made with palm oil, sells for $6.99 for a 24-ounce tub.

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