Have a Heart

‘Have a heart’ says Sue

‘label trans-fats!’

1st November 2009

Sue KedgleyKapiti Independent News has asked Green MP and safe-food campaigner Sue Kedgley to supply us with the latest news on making our food safer and healthier.

In her latest media release, Ms Kedgley, the Greens’ Food Spokesperson, says  the decision of the Trans-Tasman Food body  not to require labelling of artery-clogging trans-fats will lead to poorer health for New Zealanders.

Trans-fats are found in deep-fried fast foods and processed foods such as biscuits and pastry goods.

They are created by hydrogenation — when vegetable oils are heated to high temperatures and hydrogen is bubbled through the fat to harden it so it will have a long shelf life.

“Trans-fats raise blood cholesterol levels and clog arteries and as such  pose a risk to our health,” says Ms Kedgley.

“Consumption of this artificially produced fat has been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease,” she says.

A survey by Food Standards Australia New Zealand found that up to 15% of New Zealanders are eating dangerously high amounts of trans-fat laden foods.

However, the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council has decided against any regulations — or even labelling — of the trans-fat acid content of food.

“The Ministerial Council is denying consumers the right to know what is in our food, and denying us our right to avoid foods that may be harmful to our health,” says Ms Kedgley.

“We should have mandatory labels declaring the trans-fat content of foods, as we do with saturated fats, and warn consumers about the risks trans-fats pose to our health.,”she says.

“Other countries have taken the simple step of requiring mandatory labelling, but our Government is dragging its feet.”

(Note: The Health Select Committee Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes recommended that all packaged food should identify levels of trans-fat in foods, as they do for saturated fats)