Slovenia became the latest European country to move against trans fats in processed foods when it introduced a decree that aims to provide maximum levels for trans fatty acids (TFAs).
The country submitted a decree on the maximum permissible level of trans fats in foods to the European Commission earlier this month. Under the proposal, no more than 2g of unsaturated fatty acids is permissible per 100g of the food’s total fat content.
The decree’s provisions apply to all vegetable oils, fats and fat emulsions as well as to foods containing such oils, fats and fat emulsions, the Slovenian authorities said. However, the provisions do not apply to animal oils and fats and to foods where the presence of trans fats is the consequence of their natural presence in animal oils and fats.
The decree is on hold until 22 January to give the European Commission and other Member States the opportunity to comment on whether any potential trade barriers will arise as a result of the move.
“Foods that do not comply with the requirements in this decree may remain on the market for a maximum of 12 months following the decree’s entry into force,” the Slovenian government concluded.
Trans fat risks
Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. As a consequence, consuming trans fats increases your risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke. It is also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diseases of the circulatory system – including heart failure and stroke – are the leading cause of death in Slovenia. They account for more than 200 deaths per 100,000 of the population. This compares to the average of just over 150 per 100,000 seen in the EU15, the WHO European Member States before 1 May 2004.
Slovenia is the latest in a line of EU Member States who have taken steps to curb the trans fat content of processed foods. Earlier this year, Lithuania took capped industrial trans fats. Other EU countries to have introduced similar measures include Denmark, Austria, Iceland and Latvia – who have all placed restrictions at the 2% level.