Commission publishes it plans to limit unhealthy trans fats

BEUC News - 04 October 2018

Today, the European Commission has published a measure to slash the amount of industrial trans fats in foods sold in the European Union.1 There is strong evidence that trans fats significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease2.

 

For many years BEUC and its members have advocated for action on trans fats and have pushed for an EU-wide legislative limit of 2g of trans fats per 100g of fat as the best measure to protect consumers across Europe.

A legislative limit has already proven to be very successful in Denmark which introduced the limit over 15 years ago with many other European Member States following suit.

Although average levels of industrial trans fats in foods may have reduced in general, testing by our member organisations, national consumer groups, has shown that levels of trans fats can often remain high in some products. This is especially the case in Eastern European countries.

Testing carried out in 2013 by BEUC's Czech member dTest on margarines for example found that over half of the products tested contained more than 2g of trans fat per 100g of fat, with 2 products containing over 20g of trans fat per 100g of fat3.

Consumer groups have pushed for a legislative limit for this unhealthy substance for many years. BEUC therefore welcomes the Commission’s decision to act on this important issue for consumers’ health but regrets the long transition period granted until April 2021. National limits have existed for over 15 years in some countries with proven effects and little disruption to industry.

1 Industrial trans fats (iTFAs) are a type of unsaturated fat which has been used in industrial food production for many decades. They often found in popular processed foods such as biscuits, cakes or pizzas.

2 Eliminating Trans Fats in Europe, A Policy Brief, WHO, 2015.

3 Testing carried out in 2013 by our Czech member dTest on margarines for example found that over half of the products tested contained more than 2g of trans fat per 100g of fat, with 2 products containing over 20g of trans fat per 100g of fat. Jedlé nejedlé tuky, D Test, November 2013 <www.dtest.cz>