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US set to restrict trans fats, but should Australia follow?

By Gary Sacks, Helen Trevena and Shauna Downs

While Australia has few specific regulations around trans fats, US food manufacturers will soon need permission to include them in their products. Should Australia be doing more to remove trans fats from its food supply?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The increased supply and marketing of processed food high in fat, sugar and salt are recognised as the major drivers of obesity and diet-related diseases globally.

As part of efforts to improve the healthiness of the nation’s food supply, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed regulations to classify partially hydrogenated oils (the major source of trans fats in the United States) as generally not safe to include in food.

This means US food manufacturers will soon need permission to include trans fats in their products.

Australia has few specific regulations around trans fats, and the US move prompts the question: should Australia be doing more to remove trans fats from its food supply?

Trans fat in Australia

Trans fats occur naturally in small amounts in dairy and meat products, but a large proportion of the trans fats in the Australian food supply are created by food manufacturers via hydrogenation.

Hydrogenation is an industrial process that turns liquid oils into solid fats, for use in highly-processed foods such as biscuits, pastries, fast food and some margarines.

The industry advantages of hydrogenated...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.