BRUSSELS – The EU adopted a regulation on Wednesday to curb trans fat amounts in products like snack food as part of efforts to fight heart disease and strokes in Europe.
Industrially-produced trans-fatty acids, like margarine and some hardened vegetable fats, are popular among food producers because they are cheap and typically have a long shelf life.
But given their link to cardiovascular disease, trans fats have also been blamed for more than 500,000 deaths annually, according to World Health Organization figures.
The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, set the limit from April 2, 2021, at two grams of industrially produced trans fats per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of fat in food.
It said the regulation also requires wholesalers to notify retailers of any food that contains more than the limit.
“The measure aims at protecting consumers’ health and providing Europeans with healthier food options,” the Commission said in a statement.
The European Food Safety Authority and other bodies have conducted studies pushing for the lowest possible consumption of trans fats.
In May last year, the WHO unveiled a plan to eliminate the use of trans fats, extending progress in wealthier countries to those in poorer ones.