In December 2014 FSANZ completed an evaluation of a labelling review recommendation on trans fatty acids (TFAs) and provided advice to ministers. Ministers considered the FSANZ advice at a meeting on January 30 2015.
The labelling review had recommended that: mandatory declaration of all trans fatty acids above an agreed threshold be introduced in the Nutrition Information Panel if manufactured trans fatty acids have not been phased out of the food supply by January 2013.
In their response to the recommendation, ministers asked FSANZ to undertake a technical evaluation and provide advice on the recommendation. They acknowledged that industry has already achieved a significant reduction in TFAs in products and that the level of TFAs in the diet was well below the 'at-risk' level. See the full response from ministers.
At their meeting on 30 January ministers accepted the advice of FSANZ that, given the low level of TFAs in the foods sampled in Australia and New Zealand, mandatory labelling does not appear warranted. They also noted that the Code currently permits the voluntary declaration of TFA content on labels and requires TFA declaration when certain nutrition content and health claims are made.
FSANZ's advice to ministers was informed by a 2013 survey of TFAs in the food supply that showed exposure to TFAs in Australia and New Zealand is well below World Health Organization limits. The survey results are consistent with previous surveys on TFAs.
Based on its review, which also included an extensive look at the latest evidence on TFAs and a survey of industry measures to reduce TFAs in food, FSANZ advised ministers that current labelling requirements be maintained.
Supporting documents including reviews of scientific evidence
- 2013 Survey of the trans fatty acid content of Australian and New Zealand foods
- Survey of selected quick service restaurants, edible oil suppliers, packaged food manufacturers and supermarkets on initiatives to reduce TFAs in the Australian and New Zealand food supply industry [word 85kb] [pdf 136kb]
- Systematic Review of the evidence for a relationship between trans-fatty acids and blood cholesterol
- Narrative review: The relationship between dietary trans-fatty acids and adverse health outcomes