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Trans Fatty Acids: EU Commission adopts new Regulation

Brussels / BE. (eu) The European Commission adopted a new Regulation to set a maximum limit on the use of industrially produced trans-fat in foods in the EU. The measure aims at protecting consumers’ health and providing Europeans with healthier food options. Over the years, a number of scientific studies, including one from the European Food Safety Authority, have stressed that the dietary intakes of trans fat should be as low as possible in order to avoid health risks. The maximum limit set now corresponds to two grams of industrially produced trans fats per 100 grams of fat in the food intended for the final consumer and food intended for the supply to retail. Also, businesses must provide information on the amounts of trans fat in food supplied to other businesses if the limit of two grams is exceeded. This Regulation will apply as from 02 April 2021.

Overview

Trans fat or trans fats are also called trans fatty acids. Trans fats are a particular type of unsaturated fatty acids. In Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 trans fat is defined as «fatty acids with at least one non-conjugated (namely interrupted by at least one methylene group) carbon-carbon double bond in the trans configuration.» Some trans fats are produced industrially. The primary dietary source of industrial trans fats is partially hydrogenated oils. Partially hydrogenated oils generally contain saturated and unsaturated fats, among them trans fats in variable proportions (with trans fats ranging from a few up to more than 50 percent), according to the production technology used. Trans fats can also be naturally present in food products derived from ruminant animals such as dairy products or meat from cattle, sheep or goat.

On 24 April 2019, the EU Commission adopted a «Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/649 of 24 April 2019 amending Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards trans fat, other than trans fat naturally occurring in fat of animal origin».

Main elements of the draft Regulation

  • A maximum limit of trans fat, other than trans fat naturally occurring in fat of animal origin, in food which is intended for the final consumer and food intended for supply to retail, of two grams per 100 grams of fat
  • Definitions of «fat» and of «trans fat» in line with the definitions in Annex I to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011
  • Definition of «retail» in line with Article3(7) of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002
  • An obligation for business to business transmission of information on the amount of trans fat in foods when it exceeds the limit of two percent of fat
  • Food which does not comply may continue to be placed on the market until 01 April 2021