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The EU Commission adopts trans fat ban proposal

With trans fatty acids posing a public health risk to consumers, the Commission adopted a proposal which would limit the content of trans fat, other than naturally occurring trans fat, in all foods to 2 grams per 100 gram fat.

The measure will override national initiatives which had been adopted or were in the make by various other EU Member States. The date of application of the ban is not yet known.

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EU’s Commission adopts trans fat ban proposal

With trans fatty acids posing a public health risk to consumers, the Commission adopted a proposal which would limit the content of trans fat, other than naturally occurring trans fat, in all foods to 2 grams per 100 gram fat.

The measure will override national initiatives which had been adopted or were in the make by various other EU Member States. The date of application of the ban is not yet known. It is currently notified as a technical barrier to trade allowing other countries to comment on the anticipated rules. The proposal however – provisionally – instigates that foods not complying with the new rules may be marketed until 1 April 2021.

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WHO plan to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from global food supply

WHO has released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.

Eliminating trans fats is key to protecting health and saving lives: WHO estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to  more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease.

Industrially-produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods. Manufacturers  often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food.

In Denmark, the first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats, the trans fat content of food products declined dramatically and cardiovascular disease deaths declined more quickly than in comparable OECD countries.

Call for a legislative limit for the amount of industrially produced TFAs in foods

For the first time, industry, health and consumer organisations come together to address an open letter to European Commissioners about the health effects of trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils.

BEUC, CPME, EHN, EPHA, Kellogg Company, Mars, Mondelēz and Nestlé are concerned about the health effects of trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils. There’s an important evidence base on the adverse health effects of consuming trans fats, notably by increasing the risk of heart attacks or heart disease.

Most trans fats in our diet originate from foods containing industrially produced trans fats.

The businesses signing up to this statement are committed to removing trans fats originating from partially hydrogenated oils from all our foods. Over the last 10 years they have already acted voluntarily in launching programmes to removing such trans fats whilst others have not.

Increasingly, legislators around the world, including the US and several EU and EEA Member States, have taken measures to limit industrially produced TFAs in foodstuffs. They have mostly opted for legislative measures that limit the amount of industrially produced TFAs in foods to 2g per 100g of fat.

We therefore respectfully call on the European Commission to propose a legislative limit for the amount of industrially produced TFAs in foods to 2 gram per 100g of fat.

Trans fat soon to be banned?

In the 1990s, Harvard studies showed that it was not saturated fat that caused heart disease, but actually trans fats that had been recommended since the 1950s!

This past spring, the FDA announced a plan to ban use of trans fats, reporting that they are not “generally recognized as safe” for human consumption.

England may be following suit, as they are considering a total ban.  Experts report that a total ban could potentially prevent or postpone approximately 7,200 deaths related to coronary heart disease over the next five years.

A total ban is feasible, and experts are now calling for decisive action.  Researchers have evaluated three policy options: 1) a total ban on trans fatty acids in processed foods; 2) improved food labeling; and 3) a ban on trans fatty acids in restaurants and fast food places.

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