A Philippines lawmaker has introduced a new bill in the country’s Congress that would make it mandatory for food makers to label food products containing industrial trans-fatty acids (TFAs).
Republican Maria Theresa Bonoan-David said current labelling requirements provided for in the ‘Consumer Act of the Philippines’ do not expressly require information on the fat and cholesterol content of food products.
“Thus, not all consumer food products contain such information,” said Bonoan-David adding that heart disease and hypertension are among the leading causes of death and morbidity among Filipinos.
Better the devil you know
Bonoan-David stressed that strict compliance with dietary restrictions is crucial in the prevention of illness due to hypertension and heart disease, for which consumer awareness is necessary.
“Many consumers are gradually becoming more conscious about nutrition and the nutritional contents of the food they purchase and eat. In this regard, better informed consumers are better able to make choices," said Bonoan-David.
The Bill provides for a fine of 50,000 pesos (US$1,195) to 200,000 pesos (US$4,780) or imprisonment of six months to four years, or both, as penalty or penalties for violations.
The bill defines trans-fatty acids or ‘trans-fats’ as a type of unsaturated fat found when oils are hardened by partially hydrogenating them to make them more solid. They are most commonly found in baked products.
Partially hydrogenated oil are found to be more stable and does not go rancid easily like regularliquid vegetable oil. It remains solid at room temperature and is found in foods from animal meats to dairy products.