South Africans are sub-Saharan Africa’s most obese people, mainly due to the rising popularity of processed food. Heart attacks, strokes and type two diabetes now kill more people than infectious diseases. But the health situation could have been worse had the South African government not acted to limit trans-fats in processed foods back in 2011.

“Trans-fats are of particular concern because high intake is correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases,” says Dr Francesco Branca, director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) department of nutrition for health and development. “Trans-fats are completely replaceable in foods, and mandatory national limits on industrially-produced trans fats are the most effective way to achieve elimination.”

The trans-fat content of any oils and fats cannot exceed two grams per 100 grams, according to South African legislation. Products with higher trans-fats levels are prohibited from entering or being sold in the country. …..more