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CZ Ricardo, IM Peroseni, LA Mais, APB Martins and AC Duran
Abstract
Although the adverse effects of trans fat consumption are well documented, industrially-produced trans fats are still used in a variety of food products. Our objective was to investigate the presence of trans fat information on the nutrition facts panel, in the list of ingredients, and the use of trans fat claims in packaged food and beverages marketed in Brazil. This was a cross-sectional study that used data from packaged food and beverages available in the five supermarket chains with the largest market share in Brazil. Of the 11,434 products that were analyzed, 81.3% did not present a source of trans fats in the list of ingredients. The percentages of products with specific (hydrogenated fats or oils) and unspecific trans fat terms (margarine, vegetable fat, and vegetable cream) in the list of ingredients were 4.1% and 14.6%, respectively. Bakery products, cookies and crackers, candies and desserts, snacks, and convenience foods had the highest percentages of trans fat claims. We also found claims in products with ingredients that are sources of trans fats. In conclusion, trans fat ingredients were found in almost one-fifth of the Brazilian packaged foods. The current Brazilian legislation is not sufficient to inform consumers about the content of trans fats in packaged foods. Along with measures to restrict the use of industrially-produced trans fats, improvements in nutritional labeling are also needed.
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