• Sweden edition
 
Sweden's parliament passes trans fat ban

Sweden's parliament passes trans fat ban

Published: 17 Mar 2011 17:17 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Mar 2011 17:17 GMT+01:00

The Riksdag on Thursday ordered the Swedish government to develop legislation for prohibit the use of potentially dangerous unsaturated fats in food products in Sweden, something previously left to the food industry.

"This is a gratifying decision that the Riksdag has taken today," Green Party public health spokesperson Gunvor G Ericson said in a statement.

"I've been working for the regulation of industrial created trans fats in food products. The industry has voluntarily worked to bring down the amounts of trans fats and that's good. But now we'll get rules that apply to all products."

Trans fat, or unsaturated fat, is a by-product of partially hydrogenating unsaturated plant fats, which are generally vegetable oils.

The largest amount of unsaturated fat consumed today is found in processed food products, such as ready meals, biscuits, potato chips, ready made sauces and margarine.

Although medical studies from 2008 show that there may be a link between a high intake of trans fats and certain forms of cancer, it has also been suggested that the risk of developing allergies and type 2 diabetes may increased on a diet rich in unsaturated fats.

However, the research into these links is not conclusive, according to Sweden's National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket).

Denmark decided in 2004 to limit the allowed levels to two percent in fats and oils destined for human consumption.

So far, Sweden has left it to the food industry to self regulate in cooperation with the National Food Administration.

But many are of the opinion that this is not enough.

"The dangers of trans fats are too great to leave to the food industry to control," Social Democrat MP Lena Hallengren said to Swedish newspaper Barometern ahead of the vote.

"We have seen that the food industry isn’t handling this. They have had every chance, but not enough has happened."

According to the National Food Administration website, the amount of trans fats consumed in Sweden has decreased since the 1990’s – leaving Swedes consuming approximately the same amount of unsaturated fats today as the regulated Danes.

The four parties of the governing centre-right Alliance have so far been against the ban of unsaturated fats in Sweden.

Although both sides are in agreement that the use of trans fats must be limited they disagree on how to reach that goal.

Ahead of Thursday's vote, Moderate MP Jan R Andersson argued that a complete ban on trans fats was unnecessary.

“We have come just as far as many other countries without having to ban it. This is a question of choice. Sweden has chosen self regulation and so far it has worked,” he said to Barometern.

As a part of Thursday's decision, the Riksdag now wants the government to develop a law prohibiting trans fats in food products in Sweden.

The decision was based on two motions, one submitted by the Green Party and one by the Social Democrats.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

22:07 March 17, 2011 by expatjourno
Oh, for goodness sakes. There go the lantchips. Guess I'm going to have to stock up.
23:26 March 17, 2011 by Nemesis
Long overdue.

That ranks with banning slavery. Sorry forgot, you still have praktik, so Sweden is still a white slavery country.

End transfats now.

We should have free range meat and naturally grown vegatables.

We are Europeans.

We have no need for imported bad for the health, fast foods.
03:10 March 18, 2011 by Swedesmith
As much as I am not for a multitude of government regulations on every aspect of our lives, I think this would be a good idea. Trans fat is unnatural and wreaks havoc on a person's arteries. It is in lots of foods that you would never suspect unless you are a careful reader of labels.
10:47 March 18, 2011 by johnny1939
About Time! I would also welcome cutting down on salt in processed food. We really use so much salt in Swedish cooking too. It is not necessary and for people that love it, there is always the salt shaker. I am thinking about food in restaurants that is drenched w/ it. I would really like to see calorie and salt contents stated on the menu. Yes, I know, most of you will not agree hehe
16:17 March 18, 2011 by tadchem
Once upon a time all fats in the diet were good, because it gives you an extra edge against starvation.

Then when agriculture became mechanized saturated fats became 'evil' because they make you fat, and everybody wanted unsaturated fats becaues it was 'healthier' for the blood vessels.

Today 'trans' fats are evil, and the government believes the scanty studies that show it 'contributes' to obesity, so it has a 'right' in the name of public health to monitor your larder and punish you for eating the wrong foods.

In a few decades the food fads will change again, but the food Fascists will continue to enforce outdated laws because that is how they exercise their power.

There will NEVER be sound scientific data on the health effects of foods or substances on foods because experimentation on human subjects is not permitted, and because even if experiments were permitted, there is a LOT if individual variation in human biochemistry.
20:59 March 18, 2011 by mkvgtired
@nemesis, did you really just compare banning unhealthy fats to banning the practice of owning another human being? You say you are "Europeans" but NYC and other places banned this fat long ago. I guess you are behind the curve.

I think this is absolutely ridiculous. Trans-fat is not banned where I live, but guess what, I know its bad for me so I dont eat it. Why is this concept so difficult for some people to understand? I agree with a ban on purchasing unhealthy food with "food stamps" (government aid for food), but other than that people should be able to buy what they want. We can agree that cigarettes are far more unhealthy and they are not banned. Why is this the case? Ban them too. And along those lines, ban alcohol, definitely not good for you. Fried foods are bad, or maybe ban any oil used for frying.

At some point people need to take personal responsibility. The content of food is printed on the package, it is not a big secret what is in it. No one is forcing these things down anyone's throat. If it is unhealthy dont eat it (smoke it, etc.), or in the case of alcohol or a few other things consume them in moderation. People need to put down the crappy food of all kinds, get off thier fat asses and get some exercise. If they dont then there are health consequences that they will have to deal with. Its not rocket science guys.
21:04 March 18, 2011 by Swedesmith
I agree with you to a point mkv, but when you go out to eat, you don't have access to the ingredients. Also, children eat a lot of the foods that are loaded with trans fats and will pay the price down the road...as will we in health care costs.

So, I agree with this ban.
00:45 March 19, 2011 by waffen
One of the best laws that Sweden can pass in a decade.

Nemesis is also exactly right, otherwise Sweden will begin to resemble the one third obese and one third overweight of the United States.

Their health insurnace companies have made hundreds of billions of dollars on the fat of their citzens, that is, those who can afford the American health insurance.
03:04 March 19, 2011 by mkvgtired
@swedesmith, I would completely agree with a "notice" if you will being put on a menu saying "this product contains trans fat" or something along those lines. I also agree with the push to have nutritionists designing school lunch programs. Kids are not mature enough to make healthy decisions. I think we can all agree there.

@waffen, many of the chronically obese are low income in the US. There is a push to ban the ability to use government aid to buy high fat, high sugar junk food. There is a huge uproar from the obese welfare recipients claiming that is infringing on their "rights". The way I see it, if you pay zero taxes at only receive benefits provided by taxpayers, the taxpayers have the right to impose restrictions on how that money is spent. And many of these low income individuals are on Medicaid, a health insurance program for low income people, so the taxpayers are on the hook for much of the "billions of dollars" you speak of.

I remember reading an article on how Sweden may begin to impose a smoking surcharge for smokers using public health care. I completely agree with this. The same goes for obese people (excluding those that are obese for medical reasons obviously). Whether it is through taxes or higher health care premiums, it is unfair to burden everyone for poor decisions of a group of individuals. Imposing some of the real cost of a person's poor decisions on them is a good way to encourage them to make the right one. If they still do not want to then they have to pay the financial and health costs.

I think that is better than banning every individual thing that is unhealthy. It is a very slippery slope when any government begins banning things "for the greater good"
09:00 March 19, 2011 by Russ Cobleigh
I am an American living in Sweden and I totally agree. We do not need all the fast food places that they have back in the states. And if we have them, then they should be regulated so they are safe for us and our children. I applaud this decision.
Today's headlines
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
House keys: Shutterstock.

On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends

Finding somewhere to live when you move to Sweden is a challenge. With changes afoot The Local caught up with an expert from letting agency Residensportalen to find out in what direction the market is going, and how Google Glasses may just help you find your dream home. READ () »

The Local List
Ten most disgusting Swedish foods
Salty liquorice, anyone? Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Ten most disgusting Swedish foods

Swedish food is, of course, a matter of taste. But it's mostly disgusting. Our loyal followers on Twitter and Facebook shared what they thought were the worst of them all. READ () »

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'
Defence Minister Karin Enström. File photo: TT

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'

The Swedish government has announced plans to beef up its defence forces by fitting its fleet of Gripen fighter jets with long-range cruise missiles. READ () »

Swede of the Week
Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'
Swedes vote in the 2010 elections. File photo: Dan Hansson/TT

Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'

Gösta Arvedson, 89, is the oldest Riksdag candidate in Sweden, but our Swede of the Week explains that the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) had to make some unusual promises for him to put his name forward. READ () »

Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping Brawl
Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Swedish police on the scene following Monday's fatal brawl. File: TT

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'
The bridge that connects Sweden to the European continent. File: L.E. Daniel Larsson/Flickr

'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden. READ () »

Eurovision 2014
Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip
Sanna Nielsen in the new clip. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence. READ () »

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Swedish apartments. File: The Local

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service. READ () »

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 23
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Advertisement:
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

718
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com