Thu, May 17, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Agency reaffirms complete ban on trans fats by July

COSTLY TRADE-OFF:Processed vegetable oils increase the life of food products, but they are also the main source of trans fats, the FDA said

By Wu Liang-yi and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday reaffirmed a complete ban on the use of partially hydrogenated oils in food products by July 1.

The agency reiterated the planned ban following a call by the WHO — which refused to grant Taiwan observer status at this year’s World Health Assembly, despite objections from the US and the EU — on Monday for world governments to eliminate artificial trans fats from foods by 2023.

From July 1, no food product may utilize artificial partially hydrogenated oils, which is the main dietary source of trans-unsaturated fatty acids, the agency said in a news release.

The measure was authorized under the regulation on the use of hydrogenated oils in food products the government promulgated in 2016, it said.

No food products manufactured after that date would be allowed to contain partially hydrogenated oils, the agency said, adding that infractions would result in fines of NT$30,000 to NT$3 million (US$1,004 to US$100,361) after a warning.

Processed vegetable oils are typically used in the manufacture of food products due to their stability and heat-resistance at the molecular level, which increase the life of the product, but partially hydrogenated oils are also the main source of trans fats, it said.

The consumption of artificial trans fats has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, said Yan Tsung-hai (顏宗海), chief toxicologist at Chang Gung Medical Hospital in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口).

Additionally, medical research conducted by doctors and scientists worldwide has found that trans fats are linked to increased risk of obesity, fatty liver disease and Alzheimer’s disease, Yang said.

Trans fats are commonly found in processed foods that utilize vegetable oils or substitute butter, such as cakes, confections, bread, cookies, fried foods and coffee creamers, he added.

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