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Call for trans fats labelling

2nd August 2006

25072006_obeseteenager1.jpgPublic health experts from Oxford University have urged the Food Standards Agency to introduce legislation whereby trans fatty acids are listed on food labels.

Research by US scientists has shown a strong link between trans fat consumption and the risk of developing coronary heart disease which has prompted the call for food labels to specify hidden trans fats, as well as cholesterol and saturated fat, to help consumers avoid products that increase the risk of heart disease.  

Although trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, their main source in western diets is in commercial cooking and manufactured foods. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils - made by blowing hydrogen through oil to produce a semi-solid fat - are particularly rich in trans fats. They occur in traditional hard margarines, some biscuits and snacks, and cooked foods such as chips and chicken nuggets.

The Oxford authorities noted that Denmark had introduced laws in 2004 which mandated a maximum 2 per cent level of industrially produced trans fatty acids in all oils and fats used in manufacturing food. This "virtually eliminated trans fats and had no effect on the quality, cost or availability of foods," they said.

 

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