Across some countries in eastern Europe and the Balkan region in particular, intake of trans fats is still high. Several policy options exist to reduce trans-fat intake, including legislative limits on trans-fat content, voluntary reductions by the food industry, and mandatory labelling of trans fats. In order to evaluate these three options the WHO looked which policies are:
The WHO concludes that a legal limit for the content of trans fats in all foods is likely to be the most effective option and potentially the only option available that reduces the risks associated with trans fats faced by all consumers. They state in the policy brief: ‘Such a policy is unique in its combination of efficacy, cost-effectiveness and low potential for negative impact.’
In the Netherlands intake of trans fats is already at a very low level (0.5 percent of energy) and well below the allowable level of 1 percent of energy. In the Netherlands it is therefore not a public health issue any more. This is due to voluntary self-regulation by the Dutch Food industry that amongst other mitigating measurements unitedly ran a Task Force until intakes of trans fats were below maximum level.
Knowing that in some eastern European countries intake of trans fats is not low enough, the WHO proposes legislation, to be able to assure in those countries that no product contains high levels of trans fats. MVO strives for a level playing field with good health standards and legislation might help achieving this. Furthermore legislation makes the current mandatory labelling of (partial) hydrogenation unnecessary and even misleading.
Click here for the full WHO Policy Brief.