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Keywords:

  • catalytic fat hydrogenation;
  • fat food reformulation;
  • fat interesterifications;
  • food safety and security;
  • genetic fat modification;
  • trans fatty acids

Abstract

 Trans fatty acids (TFAs) mainly arise from 2 major sources: natural ruminal hydrogenation and industrial partial catalytic hydrogenation. Increasing evidence suggests that most TFAs and their isomers cause harmful health effects (that is, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases). Nevertheless, in spite of the existence of an international policy consensus regarding the need for public health action, several countries (for example, France) do not adopt sufficient voluntary approaches (for example, governmental regulations and systematic consumer rejections) nor sufficient industrial strategies (for example, development of healthier manufacturing practices and innovative processes such as fat interesterifications) to eliminate deleterious TFAs from processed foods while ensuring the overall quality of the final product (for example, nutritional value and stability). In this manuscript, we first review the physical–chemical properties of TFAs, their occurrence in processed foods, their main effects on health, and the routine analytical methods to characterize TFAs, before emphasizing on the major industrial methods (that is, fat food reformulation, fat interesterification, genetically modified FAs composition) that can be used worldwide to reduce TFAs in foods.