Anti trans fat bill takes 1st base

The Anti-Trans Fat Bill or House Bill 1485, one of the 12 bills Laguna Representative Ann Matibag submitted on her first month in the Lower House — made it on first reading on 1 August 2022.”
The measure seeks to protect the health and welfare of Filipinos.

The neophyte lawmaker from the first district of Laguna, City of San Pedro believes that the time is ripe to get rid of industrially-produced trans fatty acids from processed foods.

As an advocate of healthy living in the province of Laguna during her term as provincial board member, Matibag expects the bill to turn to law soon.

“Based on scientific studies, trans fatty acids are very unhealthy and dangerous to human health,” Matibag explains. “It’s about time to prohibit the manufacture, importation, and distribution, and sale of food products containing these substances,” she noted.

Matibag welcomed the development, saying the House bill is one of her many priorities as a “champion of nutrition” particularly for mothers and children.

“Team Matibag is also planning to roll out more bills on nutrition and food security as work under the 19th Congress is underway,” she said.

“A healthy living is what our country needs especially during these times.”

WHO discourages intake

Matibag added even the World Health Organization (WHO) is discouraging everyone to use trans fat intake as it leads to more than 500,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease around the world every year.

“If the World Health Organization recommends its elimination, why don’t we implement the same thing also here in our country as one of the simplest public health interventions to reduce the risk of suffering diseases related to unhealthy diets like cardiovascular diseases,” she said.

“It doesn’t provide any nutritional benefits. It only increases the levels of harmful cholesterol while decreasing the levels of good cholesterol.”

Food manufacturers use hydrogenated oils that produce fatty acids in hardened vegetable fats because they have longer shelf lives than other type of fats.

For Matibag, the House Bill 1485 seeks to prohibit the use of hydrogenated oils and other oils and fats with trans fatty acid content of two grams per 100-gram.

Labeling essential

She said the Food and Drugs Administration will check the packaging and labeling of the food products which are free of trans fatty acids, and impose huge penalties to violators.

Matibag explained the proposed legislation will implement a crop of diversification program to develop healthy alternative oil seeds, and provide seminars on reformulation for business operators to comply with the regulations under the bill.

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