The Parliament of the European Union (EU) has passed a resolution calling for the EU to place mandatory limits on industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (TFAs) used in many foods.
TFAs are a type of unsaturated fat found in a wide range of food and drink products. However, TFAs in food have been linked to an increased risk of obesity as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s diseases, endometriosis, infertility and some forms of cancer. According to the Parliament’s resolution (2016/2637/RSP), cardiovascular disease accounts for about 660,000 deaths each year, representing about 14 percent of all deaths in the EU.
As evidence of the potential health benefits from reduced levels of TFAs in food, the resolution cites the experience of Denmark, which in 2003 established a national TFA limits of 2 percent in oils and fat, and which reportedly saw a significant reduction in deaths associated with cardiovascular disease.
Parliament’s resolution calls on the EU Commission “to establish as soon as possible an EU legal limit on industrial TFAs (as both an ingredient and a final product” in all food in order to reduce their intake among all population groups.” The resolution also calls on food producers to prioritise the identification of alternatives to TFAs that would comply with current health and safety standards while reducing TFA-related health risks to consumers.
The text of the EU Parliament’s resolution on TFAs is available here.