trans fat

Draft regulations on trans fat published

The Department of Health has published its promised regulations to banish trans fat from South African foods.

The Government Gazette of 30 March 2010 sets out Reg. 249 of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act (54/1972): Regulations: Trans fat in foodstuffs.

The regulations prohibit a trans fat content in excess of 2g per 100g of end product foodstuff. Products that claim to be “free of trans fat” must contain less than (or equal to) 0.01g per 100g of the end product foodstuff.

Preferred methodologies for detecting the presence of trans fat are also outlined.

Interested parties have three months to submit substantiated comments and representations to the Director: Food Control, Dries Pretorius. Email: [email protected], or Private Bag X282, Pretoria, 0001.

There will be a six-month grace period to comply with the new laws once promulgated.

Although naturally occurring trans fats in animal products such as milk and meat are harmless, those made industrially from vegetable oils have been linked to heart disease, diabetes and breast and prostate cancer.

The fats have been used widely in the food industry for decades as they are cheap, palatable and have a long shelf life. But as awareness of health risks associated with trans fats has grown, more nations have moved to regulate their use, forcing large food companies and restaurants to find alternative ingredients.

The regulations can be downloaded here