Australian experts call to follow US lead in banning trans fats

Following an announcement from the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) last week, Australian experts say that Australia should also consider a ban on artificial trans fats.

The FDA has stated that the ban would aid in combating the rising rates of obesity and heart disease in the country and should it be approved, packaged food manufactures would be forced to ditch trans fats in favour of safer, mono or polyunsaturated fats.

Michael Moore, chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia said although Australian companies have largely been proactive in their approach in reduce trans fats, a move to ban them would be highly beneficial to the heath of the Australian public, SMH reports.

“Trans fats have not been as big a problem in Australia as the US, as the industry moved reasonably quickly to withdraw them,” he said. “But from our perspective that's even more reason to move to ban them, to stop those [companies] that haven't done the right thing”.

Moore also adds that trans fats are not the only culprit when it come to health issues in Australia, adding that diets containing high levels of saturated fat and sugar also lead to serious health concerns.

Dr Rob Grenfell, national director of the Heart Foundation said that further transparency in labelling would also be a positive step forward, however not all trans fats could be banned as some naturally occur in some dairy products and meat.

“We believe consumers should be aware of what they are eating and this transparency [in mandatory labelling] will help push manufacturers to change to healthier oils and manufacturing processes,” he said.

“Food processing [in Australia] is different to that currently used in the US – for example, Australian margarines with the Heart Foundation Tick contain a maximum of 1 per cent trans fat, and most contain only 0.1 or 0.2 per cent,” he said. 

 

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