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Food Safety Focus (209th Issue, December 2023) – Article 3

Industrially Produced Trans Fatty Acids in Local Food

The intake of Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs) can increase the risk of coronary heart disease. There are two major dietary sources of TFAs, namely ruminant products (e.g. milk and butter), where TFAs are naturally present, and the industrially produced TFAs (IP-TFAs), where they can be found in bakery, deep-fried or margarine products. The World Health Organization (WHO) targets limiting IP-TFAs in food as they are the major dietary source of TFAs and can be replaced with alternative ingredients.  

In response to the call of WHO and the local Action Plan, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has amended Regulations to ban partially hydrogenated oil (PHO), the main source of IP-TFAs, in food. The CFS’s recent risk assessment study on IP-TFAs in local food found that  a majority of the samples contain no or low level of IP-TFAs. Only six (4%) samples contained more than the WHO guidance level of 2g IP-TFAs / 100g total fat. As the Amendment Regulation on banning PHO has come into effect on 1 December 2023, the food trade should ensure that their products do not contain PHO.