Transfats in South Africa
As you yesterday, South Africa has legislated against Transfats. A maximum of 2% of oil content may now be from transfats and a maximum of 1% of oils in foods claiming to be transfat free.
The Daily Maverick reports on it here: Link
In the article they quote a Pretoria University Nutritionist who notes that while Europe has had such legislation for some time, they have continued to send foods to us that would not be legal there.
The Daily Maverick points to a series of challenges likely to face any operationalising of the legislation.
“That is, if anyone ever challenges those products. The department of health, which could not be reached for comment, doesn’t have the resources to test for such things, and has previously said it will rely on food companies to act honestly. It is perhaps more realistic to expect competitors to police one another, but that leaves consumers without a champion, or even much information. Disclosing the level of trans-fats in food is not yet mandatory, it’s just illegal to have too much.
And that is ignoring one of the primary sources of trans-fats: frying oil that is reused too often. We wouldn’t recommend relying on the local fish ‘n chips shop to do regular testing.”
I think this is key, particularly at the lower end of the market - the non-supermarket sector - where regulation is less effective, where the consumers are more price pressed and so purchasing more heavily processed foods, and where consumers have less information on nutrition and legislation.
University of Cape Town