Close eye to be kept on trans fats

Close eye to be kept on trans fats

Consumption levels in China to be tracked as US proposes ban

CHINA - Consumption of trans fats, and their potential health impact in the long term, is to be monitored closely by China's health and food safety authorities, a senior expert said.

The move comes after the US Food and Drug Administration proposed on Thursday banning artificial trans fats in processed food ranging from cookies to frozen pizza, citing the risk of heart disease.

"China will not take similar action in the near future, given low-level consumption of trans fats among the public," Chen Junshi, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering at the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, told China Daily on Friday.

The current intake of trans fats among Chinese poses no tangible health risks, he said, citing the results of a regional study released in June.

The study, an assessment report on the consumption of trans fats, and associated health risks, in China found that they accounted for 0.16 per cent of the total energy consumption of people in five Chinese cities.

For cities with a higher intake, such as Beijing and Shanghai, trans fats comprised 0.34 per cent of total energy consumption, the survey showed.

The World Health Organisation recommends that trans fats should account for no more than 1 per cent of energy intake, or no more than 2.2 grams a day.

"China's intake is much lower than that," Chen said.

The average daily intake of trans fats in the United States in 2012 was 1 gram, according to the FDA, down from 4.6 grams in 2003.

Trans fats occur during the processing of polyunsaturated fatty acids in food production, helping food have a longer shelf time but heightening the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, experts say.

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