Since Energy per portion is the nutrition information best understood and required today by consumers (EUFIC survey carried out in 2004), FEDIOL believes that this should indeed be mandatory and easily accessible on the front of pack (FOP).
Since vegetable oils are composed exclusively of the single macronutrient fat (itself composed of various fatty acids such as saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids), our industries believe that for a better consumer understanding only relevant and useful nutrient information should be indicated on the label. In addition, for legibility purpose this information should be placed on the back of pack (BOP).
- On a mandatory basis, total fat and saturated fats (SAFA) should be indicated
- In addition to the mandatory requirements, other useful information on fatty-acid composition could be placed on the label on a voluntary basis. The non-mandatory information could include quantitative declarations for polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) also known as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) also known as omega 9 fatty acids, as well as trans fatty acids (TFA) and cholesterol.
Trans Fatty Acids
In view of available scientific evidence today, no distinction can or should be made between TFA of ruminant and industrial origin.
TFA labelling should remain voluntary. This reflects the EFSA conclusions (2004 TFA opinion and opinion on nutrient profiles of 2008) that the total dietary TFA intake today in the EU is in most countries below the WHO recommended maximum level of 1%E and therefore of no health concern.
In 2009, FEDIOL undertook an industry survey to better understand the evolution of the vegetable oils and fats commercialised in the EU from 1998 to 2008.
Overall data collected by FEDIOL show that:
- The average TFA content in oils and fats formulations has decreased over the last 10 years from 5.3 to 1% on fat basis, which corresponds to a relative decrease of 81%.
- A slight increase of SAFA can be observed from 1998 to 2003 and is a direct consequence of the decrease of the TFA content in formulations, in particular where hard fats are necessary (e.g. confectionery).
- This is then followed by a decrease from 2003 to 2008 reaching 27.3% of total fat. Indeed, after solving the problem of TFA, more recently the oils and fats sector has focused its innovation and reformulation efforts towards the reduction of the SAFA content of food products.
The information per portion is particularly relevant for foods where consumption per eating occasion is much less than 100g, as is the case for vegetable oils for which a typical portion of 10g, corresponding to an easily measurable soup spoon, has been determined by the European oil sector.
Guidelines Daily Amounts (GDAs)
FEDIOL supports the principle of GDAs that can be indicated on a voluntary basis on BOP together with the fat-related nutrients. GDA recommended values were developed by the oils and fats sector and the EU food industry for PUFA, MUFA, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The GDA values should be those for an average "adult" (GDA values currently used for women are used as figures for all adults).
Table- FEDIOL agreed reference values for GDAs