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National standard for trans fat labeling

By Shan Juan | China Daily | Updated: 2011-11-04 14:07

BEIJING - The amount of trans fat and other nutritional information will be marked on the labels of prepackaged food, according to the country's first national standard for food nutrition. The labeling will take effect on Jan 1, 2013.

"It will help standardize the nutrition facts labeling by food producers and facilitate consumers' rights to know and choose, while improving public awareness of food nutrition," said Yang Yuexin, a senior nutritionist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new regulation by the Ministry of Health stipulates that food labels have to include the food's nutrition information, including levels of energy, protein, fat, carbohydrate and sodium.

Food products without proper labels showing the nutritional information will be banned when the new rule takes effect.

The new regulation also stipulates that if any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat is used to produce the food, the level of trans fat will have to be highlighted on the nutrition information label.

Trans fat is usually produced during food processing when liquid oils are converted into semi-solid fats that help keep food fresh longer. However, the partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fat that can substantially increase the risk of heart disease.

However, Zhang Jian, a researcher with CDC's National Institute for Nutrition and Food Safety, said that compared to Western diets, the Chinese diet contains a far lower level of trans fat and there is no need to over react.

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