Diet :: Australia plans to reduce trans fats in food, fast food

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, announced today the establishment of a National Collaboration on Trans Fats that will propose initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of trans fatty acids in food sold in Australia. Mr Pyne said that the National Heart Foundation of Australia, the Dietitians Association of Australia, the Australian Food and Grocery Council and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) would lead the initiative.

?Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is currently assessing trans fat intakes by Australians and New Zealanders. Based on this study, FSANZ will review potential health risks associated with these levels of intake,? Mr Pyne said.

?While preliminary findings by FSANZ suggest that the current intake of trans fatty acids (also known as trans fats) does not require immediate government regulatory intervention, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the issue and government welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with these organisations.

?Through its dietary modelling work, FSANZ found that Australians consume relatively low amounts of trans fats, compared to some other countries. One reason for Australia?s lower trans fat intakes is the proactive approach taken by the food industry and interested organisations over the past few years.

?I congratulate those companies in the food manufacturing and fast food industries that have already worked hard to reduce trans fatty acids in the Australian food supply.

?The National Collaboration on Trans Fats provides an opportunity to promote current industry and public health initiatives in this area more widely. It will also raise consumer awareness of trans fats.

?Foods high in trans fats or saturated fats increase blood cholesterol levels, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. I urge consumers, for the sake of their health, to limit their consumption of trans and saturated fats,? Mr Pyne said.

Manufacturers must list the presence of trans fatty acids in the nutrition information panel on food labels if there are claims such as ?no cholesterol? or ?low in saturated fat? on the food.

FSANZ is considering whether to allow a health claim that a food is ?low in trans fatty acids and saturated fat which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease? when a new regulation on health claims is introduced. This will assist consumers to make healthier choices and encourage the food industry to develop healthier products.

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