Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) will be banning products with partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) , as stated by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amrin Amin.
This is following in the footsteps of countries like United States, Canada, and Thailand, who are also banning PHOs.
“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), artificial trans fat increases risk of heart disease and has no known health benefits. WHO has called for countries to remove artificial trans fat from the food supply,” Mr Amrin explains.
The MOH has stated that four categories of food products are most likely to contain PHOs - snacks, baked goods, prepared meals and fat spreads. Across these four categories, it is estimated that less than 10 per cent of products in the market currently contain PHOs.
In the past, Singapore has placed restrictions on products with trans fat, including PHOs. Food manufacturers are required by law to declare and limit the amount of trans fat in cooking oil and fats. This resulted in local trans fat intake reducing by half from about two grammes per day in 2010 to 1 gram per day in 2018, Mr Amrin said.
“It is timely to build on this,” he said. Healthier alternatives, as suggested by Mr Amrin, can include sunflower and canola oil, which are unsaturated and healthier based on consultations with the industry. These alternatives, as well as other existing types of oil readily available in the industry, are alternatives that will not adversely change the diets of Singaporeans.