The call, which sees health NGOs including the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the European Heart Network (EHN) join forces with The European Consumer Rights Organisation (BEUC) and four major international food companies (Mars, Kellogg’s, Mondelēz and Nestlé), asks for legislation that would limit the level of trans fatty acids (TFAs) in foods to a maximum of 2 grams per 100 grams in a bid to reduce the negative impact of the unhealthy fats on heart disease risk.
“There's an important evidence base on the adverse health effects of consuming trans fats, notably by increasing the risk of heart attacks or heart disease,” says the open letter, which can be found here.
“The businesses signing up to this statement are committed to removing trans fats originating from partially hydrogenated oils from all our foods,” the letter adds – noting that increasingly legislators around the world, including the US and several European States.
“We therefore respectfully call on the European Commission to propose a legislative limit for the amount of industrially produced TFAs in foods to 2 gram per 100g of fat,” reads the letter. “This would be an effective step towards significantly reducing trans fats originating from partially hydrogenated oils from all foods.”
Bart Vandewaetere, head of relations with European institutions at Nestlé told FoodNavigator that the open letter follows on from recent campaigning against TFAs on twitter, in which the firm took to the social media platform to demonstrate its support for the BEUC campaign.
Vandewaetere said the reason for asking for a 2 gram per 100 gram figure, when the company has already stated it will work to totally remove all TFAs, is to create alignment and harmonisation at the European level.
Indeed, he noted that recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other regulatory authorities have all been set at a limit of 2 g per 100 g of fat.
“It’s more a matter of creating a level playing field, but for sure if you phase out, like we are doing ... you will come much further below.”
“Our commitment to banning trans fats is linked to phasing out and removing all trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils,” said Vandewaetere who confirmed that Nestlé is on track to be completely trans fat free by the end of 2016.
“There are just two oils that we need to change,” he confirmed.