Strict limits on the trans fatty acid content in foods set by European legislation

June 19, 2019

A new European legislation sets strict limits on the trans fatty acid content in foods. According to the new Regulation, the trans fatty acid content (excluding trans fatty acids which constitute natural ingredients of fat of animal origin) in foods meant for the final consumer and in foods meant for the commission of retailers must not exceed 2 grams per 100 grams of fat.

But what are trans fatty acids, in which foods do we find them and how do they affect our health?
 
Trans fatty acids are created during the conversion of liquid vegetable oils to semi-solid fats. They are highly detrimental to one's health, especially heart health, and have been associated with the possibility of developing certain types of cancer (eg. thyroid) so the consumption of foods containing them is to be avoided.
 
Ideally, trans fatty acids should be avoided altogether and their content in foods should be next to zero.
According to the National Dietary Guidelines, possible sources of trans fatty acids include margarine, biscuits, cakes, sweets, puff pastries, and manufactured products like fast food, etc. For this reason, it is necessary to always check labels on food packets.