SINGAPORE: The Health Promotion Board (HPB) says Singapore’s food industry is on track to meet new trans fat regulation by May 2013.
Over 70 per cent of local bakeries are now using ingredients which meet the trans fat requirement, while 80 per cent of retail oil and margarine products are labelled with trans fat content.
The remaining 20 per cent of products are expected to be labelled by May next year.
In March, a new regulation was announced to control trans fat targeted at importers and manufacturers of fats and oils.
The regulation limits trans fat to no more than 2g per 100g product for fats and oils supplied to local food service establishments and food manufacturers, as well as fats and oils sold in retail outlets.
In addition, the labelling of trans fat levels on packaging of retail fats and oils is now compulsory.
The Agri—Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), Health Promotion Board (HPB) and National Environment Agency (NEA) have also formed a task force to jointly monitor the trans fat content in fats and oils used by food service establishments and sold at retail outlets.
The task force will enforce the regulation from May 2013.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described trans fat as an industrial additive with no demonstrable health benefits and clear risks to human health.
Trans fats are found primarily in foods containing shortening, margarine or partially hydrogenated oils such as commercially—prepared baked and fried items.
Sources of trans fats consumption by Singaporeans include pastries, cakes, doughnuts and biscuits.
Amy Khor, Minister of State for Health and Manpower, said: "According to HPB’s 2010 National Nutrition Survey, three in 10 adult Singaporeans exceeded the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily limit of two grams of trans fat.
"Two thirds of these people are younger adults aged 18 to 39 years, of which 10 per cent had trans fat intakes of more than double the recommended limit.
"With the total switch to fats and oils meeting trans fat requirements by 2013, the average intake among Singaporeans who had previously exceeded the trans fat limit will be reduced by at least 60 per cent from 3.7 grams to 1.6 grams. This means for these Singaporeans, their risk of getting heart disease will be cut by 10 per cent."
CEO of HPB, Ang Hak Seng, said: "A four—gram increase in daily trans fat intake is associated with a 23 per cent increase in the incidence of coronary heart disease.
"This amount of trans fat intake is equivalent to the quantity of trans fat found in two doughnuts, prior to bakeries adopting the new guidelines. This is a cause for concern.
"To further reduce the trans fat intake among Singaporeans, HPB has actively engaged the food industry and food service sectors to provide trans fat—free foods to the public.
"To date, there are more than 1,100 trans fat—free Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) products on the market."
HPB says it hopes to increase the number of products to 2,000 by the end of next year.
The three major suppliers of fats and oils in Singapore are Woodlands Sunny Foods Pte Ltd, Lam Soon Singapore Pte Ltd and Phoon Huat & Co (Pte) Ltd.
These companies either produce or acquire margarines and shortenings for sale in Singapore and which are used in 70 per cent of the local bakeries.
To meet the new regulation requirement, these suppliers began to develop or import products which contain permissible levels of trans fat for supply to the local food businesses.
HPB says these companies have reported no difference in the sensory properties, shelf life or consumer acceptance of their food products using these reformulated margarines and shortenings.
At BreadTalk, all of its products including its signature Taro Hero and Claypot Chicken buns are currently manufactured using ingredients which meet the trans fat limit.
Since the announcement of trans fat regulation, BreadTalk’s research and development team has switched to using margarines and shortenings with low trans fat content to develop healthier products.
BreadTalk says its products incorporated with the new ingredients have been well received by the customers.
Dr Khor lauded HPB’s efforts in working with the food industry.
She said: "I think HPB has been working very well, very closely with the industry players, the local suppliers, the food service establishments, the food manufacturers, the Singapore Food Manufacturers Association for instance, in fact they have already been at work even before we have announced the trans fat requirement in March. So they have been able to find alternatives to replace, reconstitute, reformulate the process and so on."
MORE SINGAPORE NEWS
Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn
Former Palme d'Or winner Roman Polanski returns to the Croisette with 'Venus in Fur', a new adaptation of a play about the infamous sadomaso... More Former Palme d'Or winner Roman Polanski returns to the Croisette with 'Venus in Fur', a new adaptation of a play about the infamous sadomasochistic novel by Sacher-Masoch. Duration: 01:06
Date 16 hrs ago, Duration 1:06, Views 33