Turkish regulation limits trans fats14 Jun 2020
Turkey has become the latest country to limit the use of industrially produced trans fats. Are manufacturers ready and what solutions exist to replace partially hydrogenated oils?
Under the regulation, published in the Official Gazette in May, foods intended for the final consumer and for retail supply may not contain more than 2 g of trans fats per 100 g of fat. Products containing trans fats cannot be marketed after 31 December 2020.
This limit of 2 g of trans fats per 100 g of fat is in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), which praised Turkey for implementing best practice.
Trans fats occur naturally in some foods such as milk and meat but most industrially produced trans-fats in the human diet come from foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHOs). Partially hydrogenated oils are favoured by food manufacturers as they increase crispiness, extend the shelf-life of processed food products, and are flavour stable. They can be found in products such as baked goods and savoury snacks.
However, they are also harmful to health: trans fat consumption increases the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in Turkey, and is estimated to kill more than 500,000 people globally per year, including 2,910 in Turkey, according to the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI). It called the regulation “a major win for public health in Turkey”.
This has meant a steady fall from grace for PHOs. Denmark was the first country in the world to limit their use on public health grounds in 2003 and in 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status of industrially produced trans fats. More recently, Brazil’s food safety authority ANVISA announced a ban that would take effect in 2023.
Some multinational food manufacturers have made commitments to voluntarily remove trans fats from their products. In 2018, for instance, Nestlé said 99.8% of the fats and oils it used met its policy on trans fat, which aims to remove the PHOs from all its food and drink products.
Finding the right alternative
Food suppliers have developed ingredients that can replace PHOs in a cost-effective way while retaining many of their desired characteristics. Sunflower, rapeseed or soybean oil can replace PHOs in frying applications and can also be blended with texturizers or emulsifiers to create the structure needed by food makers.
Enzymatic interesterification (EIE), which involves rearranging fatty acids to provide structure and functionality at room temperature, produces a solid fat similar to PHOs. Fully hydrogenating oils also results in a solid fat and, unlike partial hydrogenation, fully hydrogenated oils do not contain harmful trans fats.
In a price-sensitive market such as Turkey, food manufacturers may opt for competitively priced alternatives to PHOs.
A 2014 WHO report, Turkish Healthy Nutrition and Active Life Programme: An Evaluation, warned that Turkish food manufacturers were voluntarily removing PHOs from processed products and replacing them with palm oil.
“[This] is potentially the worst possible solution,” it said. “Turkey needs to ensure that substitutions for trans fats in reformulated products result in the best possible fat profile. Substitution for saturated fatty acids such as palm oil is a secondary concern faced by other countries, in that it is less harmful than trans fats but does increase the risk for cardiovascular disease; however, affordable, healthier alternatives exist, with the properties required for stability and texture.”
The WHO called on the Turkish government to persuade food operators to use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids wherever possible, particularly olive oil given that Turkey is situated in the Mediterranean basin.
French dairy giant Bel to launch plant-based cheese
22 Oct 2020
French dairy group Bel will launch a plant-based Boursin in the US next year as it develops vegan versions of its core brands, which include Babybel and The Laughing Cow.Read more
Can indoor vertical farming solve the Gulf’s food security challenge?
18 Oct 2020
Recent investments in vertical farms could make Gulf countries less reliant on food imports, say the companies involved.Read more
Brazilian draft law limits food colourings to ‘smallest quantities’ possible
10 Oct 2020
A Brazilian lawmaker is pushing for manufacturers to use the smallest quantities possible of food colourings for health reasons.Read more
Two Mexican states ban junk food sales to children: A taste of things to come?
28 Sep 2020
Two Mexican states have moved to ban the sale of junk food to children and a national ban may be on the cards, according to one expert. Could this be a taste of future food policy around the world?Read more
China’s self-heating trend heats up ready meal category
21 Sep 2020
Self-heating ready meals are experiencing a boom in China, catering to the country’s ‘lazy economy’, and Mintel estimates its market value will double in coming years.Read more
Spike in counterfeit goods could damage ‘Make in India’ initiative, warns report
14 Sep 2020
Counterfeit products are rising in India and fast-moving consumer goods, including food, is in the top three worst-hit sectors. Greater traceability is needed to safeguard the national ‘Make in India’ initiative, says an industry report.Read more
Finding opportunities in Vietnam’s changing retail landscape
7 Sep 2020
Minimarkets, specialist stores and e-commerce platforms are leading retail growth in Vietnam, providing new opportunities for brands to boost sales, according to Kantar Worldpanel.Read more
Beware of ‘woke washing’: Ethical branding must reflect an ethical business
31 Aug 2020
Spanish chocolate manufacturer Lacasa is under pressure to change the name and logo of its Conguitos brand with a consumer-led petition - but experts warn against empty ‘cause marketing’.Read more
Federal lawsuit challenges US rules on ‘misleading’ GM labelling
24 Aug 2020
The Center for Food Safety has filed a federal lawsuit challenging USDA rules that mean genetic modification (GM) foods are labelled as ‘bioengineered’ – a move it says reduces transparency and causes consumer confusion.Read more
Brazil’s food waste law will put consumers at risk, warn experts
17 Aug 2020
Recent Brazilian regulation aims to fight food waste by encouraging food donations – but it puts public health at risk, warn consumer groups and legal experts.Read more
Are you a supplier?
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation