Israel Begins Labeling Trans Fats

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel has upgraded its health-conscious labeling with the advent of mandatory listing of of trans fats, cholesterol and saturated fatty acids on packaged products.

The regulations, issued on February 1 officially took effect on April 1, require the separate listing of these ingredients from the level of 2 percent fat and over. Previously, the threshold level for noting any fat was only from 4.5% fat, The Jerusalem Post reports.

“It is our obligation to encourage more healthful eating to promote health and reduce illness,” Health Minister Yael German said on Tuesday.

Trans fats are partially hydrogenated and, whether of animal or plant origin, provide no known health benefit. In addition, while both saturated and trans fats increase levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad cholesterol”), trans fats also bring down levels of high-density lipoprotein (or “good cholesterol”). As a result, trans fats increase the danger of heart disease.

The Israeli initiative follows in the steps of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which has declared that most trans fats are “no longer generally recognized as safe.”

Prof. Itamar Grotto, the ministry’s head of public health, explained that they are confident the labeling will make a difference, since countries with requirements of labeling trans fats have seen a decline in their consumption.

Out of fear that sales would drop, many companies reduced or eliminated their trans fats and replaced them with higher-quality fats. Grotto recommended that at any age, no one should have more than 1% trans fat in his daily calorie intake.

Any food manufactured before January 31 is not bound to show the separate listing until their sale ends due to their expiry date, the minister said.