Industrially produced trans fat in popular foods in 15 countries of the former Soviet Union from 2015 to 2016: a market basket investigation

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Objective: To minimise the intake of industrially produced trans fat (I-TF) and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, several countries have implemented a legislative restriction on I-TF in foods. The objective of this study was to investigate the presence of I-TF in biscuits/cakes/wafers in 15 countries of the former Soviet Union that all have a high coronary mortality rate compared with countries in Western Europe.

Methods: Three large supermarkets in 15 capitals were visited in 2015 or 2016. Prepackaged biscuits/cakes/wafers were bought if the list of ingredients disclosed that the product contained more than 15 g of fat per 100 g of product and if partially hydrogenated fat or a similar term, including margarine, refined fat or confectionery fat, were mentioned. Samples of the foods were subsequently analysed for total fat and TF.

Results: Some 994 products contained more than 2% total fat as I-TF (illegal in Denmark). In Armenia, 91 different products had a mean value (SD) of 21 (11)% fat as I-TF. In Estonia, there were eight products with 14 (10)% fat as I-TF. The other 13 countries had values between those of Armenia and Estonia. In several countries, a major portion of the products was imported from Russia and Ukraine. The mean shelf life (SD) of 673 packages was 218 (75) days. The % TF in the fat of the products produced in Russia and in Ukraine in relation to the date of production both declined by approximately 10% points during the 2-year collection period.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that I-TF is used in popular foods in all 15 countries of the former Soviet Union. Therefore, these findings indicate a possible way for some reduction of the high coronary mortality rate in these countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere023184
JournalB M J Open
Issue number2
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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