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Trans Fat – Should It Be Banned?
Health Organisations Call for Ban on Trans Fat

Added to our food by manufacturers to improve texture and increase shelf life, trans fats can seriously damage your health. Should they be banned? Worldwide health organisations think so.

Trans Fat – Should It Be Banned?

By WLR's Trudi Maples

Should man-made trans fats be added to our food? They are not essential fats, have no nutritional value and don’t promote good health because they increase our levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol. So, why are they in foods like cakes, biscuits, pies, chips, ready meals and fast food?

These chemically altered vegetable oils are added to our food by manufacturers to help bulk up foods and increase their shelf life but, by boosting our levels of cholesterol they increase our risk of heart attacks and strokes and have even been linked to fertility problems in women.

Backed by the World Health Organisation, the Food Standards Agency, the Royal Society for Public Health and the National Heart Forum, the UK Faculty of Public Health is putting pressure on ministers to have man-made trans fats banned as one of their recommendations for improving public health in the UK.

Made up of 3,300 doctors and public health specialists, the UK Faculty of Public Health believes the UK should follow the example of Denmark, New York, California, Switzerland and Austria in eradicating man-made trans fats. The faculty’s president, Professor Alan Maryon-Davis said,

‘Foods can be made perfectly well without trans fats. The government should move to ban them as soon as possible because eliminating them completely would help save many lives.’

Dr Jane Landon of the National Heart Forum said,

‘Artificial trans fats in food present a significant health hazard and there is clear agreement that removing them from the food supply would improve public health.’

However, the food industry disputes the need to legislate. The Food and Drink Federation’s director of food safety and science, Barbara Gallini said,

‘Our members have voluntarily made such significant progress in reducing trans fat levels in their products that I feel the proposal to introduce legislation is not justified.’

Some of the supermarket chains like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Iceland have already removed man-made trans fats from their own brand foods but, is it enough to allow manufacturers to self police or should a ban be in place to ensure man-made trans fats don’t make it into our diets?

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