Study reveals high trans fat levels in Indonesian food products

The highest concentration of trans fats was discovered in a blend of margarine and butter, surpassing the recommended limit by tenfold.

09 May 2024 07:40pm
Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.
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JAKARTA - Nearly 10 per cent of food products in Indonesia were found to exceed the recommended trans fat limit of two grammes per 100 grammes of total fat, according to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The study, which examined at 130 products including oils, margarines, packaged foods, and prepared foods, found that trans fats or trans fatty acids were widely present in the food supply.

WHO stresses that trans fats are especially common in popular snack items such as biscuits, wafers, bakery goods, and street snacks like martabak (a thick and sweet pancake).

The organisation highlights that the highest concentration of trans fats was discovered in a blend of margarine and butter, surpassing the recommended limit by tenfold.

"To date, 53 WHO Member States globally have adopted best-practice trans fat policies, and WHO is working closely with the Government of Indonesia to ensure it becomes the next,” WHO Representative to Indonesia, Dr N. Paranietharan said.

The study’s release on Monday marks an important move towards improving the food environment for over 275 million Indonesians, helping them live longer and healthier lives.

WHO states that trans fats, whether from natural or industrial sources, significantly elevate the risk of heart attacks and contribute to approximately 500,000 deaths from coronary heart disease globally each year.

In 2018, the organisation launched the REPLACE initiative, urging countries to eliminate trans fats worldwide by 2023.

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The REPLACE framework includes six strategies: reviewing trans fat sources and policies, promoting healthier fat and oil substitutes, implementing trans fat regulations, monitoring trans fat levels in food, raising awareness among policymakers and the public, and enforcing policy compliance. - BERNAMA