Chip Off the Oil Block

Reminiscent of an old “Saturday Night Live” sketch in which a product is described as being both a dessert topping and a floor wax, Procter & Gamble reportedly has contacted the FDA and other federal regulators about using an ingredient in its olestra fat substitute in such situations as helping to clean up industrial pollutants during an environmental crisis.

“We have been exploring the use of those fatty acids in commercial applications,” said Greg Allgood, associate director of P&G’s Nutrition Science Institute.

Olestra, introduced by P&G in 1998 and sold under the brand name Olean, is used in such products as P&G’s Fat Free Pringles and Frito-Lay’s Wow! chips. All products using Olean now carry labels that warn of “potential abdominal cramping and loose stools” from use of the fat substitute.