New Trans Fats Regulation sets a Maximum limit

On 24 April, the EU Commission adopted a new Regulation 2019/649 to set a maximum limit on the use of industrially produced trans-fat in foods in the EU. The measure aims at protecting consumers' health and providing Europeans with healthier food options.

The primary dietary source of industrial trans fats is partially hydrogenated oils. Partially hydrogenated oils generally contain saturated and unsaturated fats, among them trans fats in variable proportions (with trans fats ranging from a few up to more than 50%), according to the production technology used. Trans fats can also be naturally present in food products derived from ruminant animals such as dairy products or meat from cattle, sheep or goat.

Main elements of the Regulation: 

  • A maximum limit of trans fat, other than trans fat naturally occurring in fat of animal origin, in food which is intended for the final consumer and food intended for supply to retail, of 2 grams per 100 grams of fat
  • Definitions of "fat" and of "'trans fat" in line with the definitions in Annex I to Food Information to Consumers Regulation 1169/2011 (‘fat’ means total lipids, and includes phospholipids; & ‘trans fat’ means fatty acids with at least one non-conjugated (namely interrupted by at least one methylene group) carbon-carbon double bond in the trans configuration.)
  • Definition of "retail" in line with Article 3(7) of General Food Safety Regulation 178/2002 (‘retail’ means the handling and/or processing of food and its storage at the point of sale or delivery to the final consumer, and includes distribution terminals, catering operations, factory canteens, institutional catering, restaurants and other similar food service operations, shops, supermarket distribution centres and wholesale outlets)
  • An obligation for business to business transmission of information on the amount of trans fat in foods when it exceeds the limit of 2% of fat

Food which does not comply may continue to be placed on the market until 1 April 2021.

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