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Australia may become anti-trans fat

  • 29 March 2010
  • Written by 
  • Published in Health

An Australian panel called Review of Food Labeling and Policy is looking into whether to recommend a required labeling of trans fats in Australian foods or to go a step further with a total ban for the country. Trans fats are usually hidden within foods so consumers don't know these bad fats are there.

 

 


The Review of Food Labeling and Policy (RFLP) panel was appointed in 2009 by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council).

The panel is headed by former Australian Health Minister Dr. Neal Blewett.

Trans fat are widely considered one of the most dangerous fats in our diet, even more dangerous than saturated fat. Because of this danger, many countries have looked into its negative health affect on its citizens.

For instance, Switzerland and Denmark have totally banned trans fats from foods in their countries. And, the United States requires compulsory labeling of trans fats in its foods.

Trans fat is an unsaturated fat (such as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated) that contains trans-isomer fatty acids.

The chemical process of partial hydrogenation makes trans fat. (If you see "partially hydrogenated oils" on labeling, you know it contains trans fat.)

Page two continues.

 


 

Unfortunately, at this time in Australia and under current Australian law, food companies are not required to list trans fat as one of the ingredients of their foods.

This would not be so bad if trans fat is healthy to eat. But, it is not. The consumption of trans fat is known to increase the risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and strokes by raising the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowering the level of good cholesterol (HDL).

Trans fat is used by food manufacturers because it is cheaper to use and it extends the shelf life of products when compared to other types of oils and fats.

So this situation of hiding trans fat within foods makes it very difficult for consumers to know if they are consuming trans fat and if they are, in what amounts.

Trans fat is commonly found in pastries (pies, cakes, donuts, etc.), fasts-foods (hamburgers, fries, etc.), croissants, biscuits, crackers, and fried and highly processed foods.

In Australia, under current health laws, foods that contain trans fat are not commonly identified as containing this very bad fat.

So, the Australian government wants to do something about this situation.

Page three concludes.

 


 

According to Dr. Rosemary Stanton, an Australian nutritionist, "Trans fats are one of the most harmful things in our diet. But how can people avoid trans fats if they aren't labelled?" [Herald Sun: 'Health experts seek food warning labels']

According to the International Business Times (IBT) Health article 'Total ban for high levels of trans fat,' the panel will push for a compulsory labeling of trans fats on all foods in Australia.

And, if the compulsory labeling finds high amounts of trans fats in Australian food, then they may also recommend a total ban of trans fats in Australia, like the compulsory bans already set up in Switzerland and Denmark.

 

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