UK Health watchdog calls for elimination of trans-fats in food

Posted by Josette Dunn on 23rd June 2010

NHS watchdog NICE has called for trans-fats to be eliminated from food in the UK.Some “tens of thousands” of lives could be saved by producing healthier food. according to NICE guidance published yesterday (22 June).

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The watchdog has also called for the UK food industry to further reduce the salt and saturated fats in the food it produces, building on the work already started.

“This guidance aims to save lives and reduce the terrible toll of ill health caused by heart disease and stroke,” said Professor Mike Kelly, public health director at NICE. “Making the simple changes recommended could prevent around 40,000 premature deaths in people aged under 75 each year. Taking action now will also save many millions of pounds every year.”

The guidance, Kelly said, focuses on what the government and industry can do to make it easier for people to make healthy choices, by producing food in a healthier way “as standard”.

Guidance recommendations include speeding up the reduction in salt intake in the population of 6g per day per adult by 2015 and 3g daily by 2025.

The guidance also aims to encouraging manufacturers to “substantially” reduce hidden saturated fat in all food products, ensure low salt products and low saturated fat foods are sold more cheaply than their higher content equivalents, and the elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from processed food and take-aways.

Professor Klim McPherson, chair of the NICE guidance development group, added: “This NICE guidance is vital in helping to save the estimated 40,000 lives lost each year because of premature cardiovascular disease – a largely preventable condition. Where food is concerned, we want the healthy choice to be the easy choice. Going even further, we want the healthy choice to be the less expensive, more attractive choice.”

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