The US bans trans fats – will Australia be next?

By Rachel O'Regan |

Keys2words - The US bans trans fats - will Australia be next?

  • The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) will be phasing out all artificial trans fats in American processed foods over the next three years. Bonza!
  • Trans fats (commonly found in margarine, baked goods and TV dinners) are strongly linked to coronary heart disease.
  • Could Australia be next to support a trans fat ban?

Well, margarine, it was nice knowing you. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in America has announced a total ban on artificial trans fats in processed foods, giving companies just three years to remove the stuff completely.

Trans fats are strongly linked to (CHD) and bad cholesterol levels, with as many as 100,000 premature coronary deaths in the United States attributed to trans fat consumption. Funnily enough, trans fats were actually introduced to fight heart disease when natural saturated fats were thought to be the bad guys.

The change has been a long time coming. The tipping point? In 2006, the FDA ordered manufacturers to include trans fat content on nutritional labelling. And it seems to have worked. Between 2003 and 2012, consumer trans fat consumption dropped by 78 per cent in the US. High fives, US Government!

Now that trans fats are banned entirely, processed food companies are facing a major upheaval. Because they’re dirt cheap and increase shelf life, partially hydrogenated oils are found in everything from frozen dinners to cookies to margarine. We wonder what they’re gonna replace it with – real fat, perhaps?

Luckily for us, Australian margarines have been free from hydrogenated oil since the Nineties (although we still wholeheartedly recommend butter over this processed seed stuff). But hidden artificial trans fats are still used in cheap foods like chips and cakes – is it time to finish the job and ban them altogether? We’re keeping all our fingers and toes crossed it might be true.

Would you support a trans fat ban in Australia? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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