EU ZMK's Diary

Genval, 4th April, 2016 – Yes, it would, because – strangely enough – this time the industry is asking for more regulation: public health and consumer protection NGOs are united with processed food industry giants on the ban of industrially produced trans fats. Since this is a strange alliance of organisations usually having conflicting (private versus public) interests the issue deserves at least attention.

The issue of transfats in the EU
The regulation of the content of industrially produced trans fats in foods is not regulated at EU level, yet so member states are free to legislate on that area. Only a handful countries – including Hungary – did introduce a legal ban on transfats while others are relying on ‘voluntary’ measures which – at least – do have only limited health benefits at population level.

As the mentioned joint letter highlights: “Most trans fats in our diet originate from foods containing industrially produced trans fats. There’s an important evidence base on the adverse health effects of consuming trans fats, notably by increasing the risk of heart attacks or heart disease. (…) harmonizing EU legislation on the content of industrially produced trans fats in foods by establishing a legal limit would be a proportionate and effective way to further reduce the intake of trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils. “

Everybody in the room is on the same side
As the event ‘Trans fatty acid reduction in foodstuffs – Make it happen in the EU!’ organised today by the Hungarian Permanent representation to the EU demonstrated, all interested stakeholders: the industry, public health NGOs, processed food industry representatives – including SMEs, the World Health Organization (WHO) were united about the evidence base and about the urgent need to act. As the European Commission has come out with a report about trans fats recently, I do not see any reason why legislative action should not follow this.

“Health is a Big Thing and should be a priority for the European Commission.” – Tibor Stelbaczky, Deputy Permanent Representative of Hungary to the EU

Why banning Trans Fats at EU level would be true Better Regulation?
As far as understand, the ‘so-called’ Better Regulation agenda of the Juncker Commission is about to please the industry and member states, to introduce regulation only where it is essential and to focus on ‘big things’ only. Well, as stated before, our health is a big thing. True better regulation should serve the citzens and European consumers and as all stakeholders are united on this, why would the Commission deny regulation when the industry itself is asking for it?

[embeddoc url=”http://zmk.blogactiv.eu/files/2016/04/Open_Letter_industrially_produced_TFAs_freeEU.pdf” download=”all”]

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