Trans-fats solutions proliferating worldwide

Ingredients suppliers are responding to growing worldwide pressure to reduce or remove trans fatty acids (TFA) from food products with a spate of alternatives to the partially hydrogenated oils. Recent offerings from the likes of Cargill, Cognis and Loders Croklaan are presenting food companies with solutions to meet increasingly prevalent government and industry trans-fats removal targets.

With countries such as Denmark and Canada placing extreme restrictions on trans-fats use, the US imposing labelling restrictions, other countries considering action, and the World Health Organization (WHO) urging all governments to implement trans-fats reduction solutions, there has never been more interest in trans-fat replacement.

The WHO, in conjunction with its food regulation group, Codex, made its position on the issue clear recently when it stated: "Consideration should be given to the setting of limits on the content of industrially produced trans fatty acids in foods."

Cargill Refined Oils Europe's Dufry ingredient claims it can keep TFA levels to two per cent while reducing saturated fatty acid levels by up to 70 per cent.

Gaetan Heynderickx, technical account manager at Cargill Refined Oils Europe, said Cargill had developed a range "based on carefully selected blends of oils and fats resulting in low levels of saturated fats and TFA whilst maintaining properties like stability, crystallisation, odour and taste. This will allow our customers to change to the use of these healthier frying media without compromising end-product quality."

Loders Croklaan's SansTrans RS39 T20 is based on palm and canola oils, and is nonhydrogenated, and no trans fatty acids are produced during its manufacture. It is aimed at the bakery dough market. In the dessert area, Cognis' Lamequick CE 7203 is a nonhydrogenated whipping agent suitable for cakes, mousselike or frozen desserts, and Italian-style or soft-serve ice creams.

The Australian government and the UK food industry recently announced moves to further reduce TFA levels. Encouragingly, a survey by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) found "Australians consume relatively low amounts of trans fats, compared to some other countries [due to] the proactive approach taken by the food industry and interested organisations over the past few years."

FSANZ was considering a health claim that would allow low-TFA foods to state they could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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