Trans fat in foods in Iran, South-Eastern Europe, Caucasia and Central Asia: a market basket investigation

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Efforts to minimize the intake of industrial trans fat (I-TF) worldwide and thereby decrease the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) have recently been intensified by the WHO and other organizations. The purpose of this study was to estimate the amounts of I-TF in biscuits, cakes and wafers in Iran, Turkey and Greece and to examine the recent changes made to these food products in some of the countries of the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, where these food products were previously investigated for I-TF. Three large supermarkets were visited or revisited in each of the countries’ capitals from 2014 to 2019. Pre-packaged biscuits, cakes and wafers were purchased if the list of ingredients mentioned partially hydrogenated fat or a similar term, including margarine, refined fat or confectionery fat, and the product contained more than 15 g of total fat per 100 g of product. Samples of the foods were subsequently analysed for trans fat (TF). 

In 84 different products in Iran, TF was between 2% and 5% of total fat. In Turkey, 6 different products had TF between 2% and 5%, and in Greece, 11 products had TF between 2% and 20%. This finding is in stark contrast to the findings of 2% to 50% TF found in 50–100 products in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Georgia, Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia in 2014–2015. In the 7 latter countries, there was a 40–80% decline in the presence of TF from 2014/2015 to 2016/2019, but the findings indicate that in 2018/2019, high amounts of TF were still present in popular foods in some of these countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101877
JournalFood Policy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2020

    Research areas

  • Central Asia, Coronary heart disease, Food policy, Iran, South-Eastern Europe, Trans fat

ID: 241088300