AVA to investigate four mislabelled margarine and vegetable oil-based spreads

A tub of margarine. (Photo: Yahoo Canada Style)

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) will be launching an investigation after four margarine and vegetable oil-based spreads claiming to have “zero trans fat” were found to contain trans fat.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) said in a statement on Friday (10 March) that it detected trans fat in two products each from Flora Light and Sunny Meadow.

Under AVA rules, food that has less than 0.5 per cent of trans fat may be labelled “trans-fat free”, but they cannot be labelled as having zero trans fat unless they have none.

Trans fat is produced as a by-product in the industrial manufacture of margarines and vegetable oil-based spreads. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, the consumption of trans fat can lead to increased risk of developing heart diseases, and is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the daily average consumption of trans fat should be kept below 2g. AVA’s Food Regulations say that trans fatty acids levels in pre-packed edible fats and oils should not exceed 2 per cent.

Apart from the four mislabelled products, the test found that some products contained a higher trans fat content than what was declared, although that has since been “attributed as variance due to sample handling and analytical methodology”, CASE said.