Trans Fatty Acids

When within the space of one weekend the UK press has headlines like 'Food Firms to Ban Killer Fats' (Daily Mail, 05 July 2003), 'Cadbury Acts on Fat Fears' and 'Big Food Acts to Forestall Fat Attacks' (both from Sunday Times, 06 July 2003), it is understandable that both the food industry and consumers get very edgy about what all this means.

Much of the articles linked to these headlines were about trans fatty acids (TFAs) and the linkage between these and the build-up of LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol has been implicated in a variety of life-threatening conditions including coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic Syndrome X.

Although TFAs are naturally present at levels of about 5% in fats from ruminant animals (e.g. beef, lamb, butter, cheese), it is the TFAs that are produced by the hydrogenation of vegetable oils which is causing the most concern. Indeed the Danish government has already introduced legislation to reduce them to such a low level as to effectively ban them. They are now lobbying the EU to follow suit,

To pre-empt both such legislation and any consumer backlash that might result from this type of media frenzy, many manufacturers are taking active steps to either reduce or eliminate TFAs from their products.

To find out more about the background to the problem, the issues involved and, most importantly, how to reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids in your food products, contact Geoff Talbot for expert advice in each of these areas.

         

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