EU draft legislation limits trans fats

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

TFAs are naturally present in food products derived from ruminant animals, such as meat and dairy products
TFAs are naturally present in food products derived from ruminant animals, such as meat and dairy products
Trans fat limits for food have been introduced into EU draft legislation, with a proposed restriction of 2g per 100g of fat, where trans fatty acids (TFAs) are not naturally present in animal fat.

The draft European Commission regulation amending Annex III to European Parliament Regulation 1925/2006 was published on 4 October.

Stakeholders are able to submit their comments over a four-week feedback period. Food not conforming to the revised regulation could continue to be placed on the market until 1 April 2021 without penalty.

The primary dietary source of industrial TFAs is partially hydrogenated oils. Partially hydrogenated oils generally contain saturated and unsaturated fats, among them trans fats in variable proportions (with TFAs ranging from a few up to more than 50%), according to the production technology used.

Dairy, meat

TFAs can also be naturally present in food products derived from ruminant animals such as dairy products or meat from cattle, sheep or goat.

In December 2015, the Commission published an advisory report to the European Parliament and Council on the topic of TFAs, which warned that their consumption significantly increased consumers’ risk of heart disease.

The Commission’s current approach of introducing legal TFA limits in food is in line with the report’s preferred recommendation.

Other proposals included mandatory TFA content declaration, voluntary agreements on reducing TFA in foods and diets at EU level, or EU guidance for national legal limits on TFA content in food.

Left at the national level

The paper also suggested that action could be left at the national level and/or industry voluntary reduction efforts.

In May, the World Health Organisation called for the complete eradication of TFAs from the diet.

The latest UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey indicated that consumption of TFAs is substantially lower than the recommended upper limit of 2% of food energy.

Major UK manufacturers launched initiatives more than ten years ago to phase out trans fats from processed food and drink.

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