Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has revealed that some food brands are advertising their products to be free of trans-fat, when it’s actually still present in their products.

He revealed the finding at a Ministry of Health scientific forum held at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

The findings of a study presented at the forum revealed that the main source of trans-fat in local food products is imports.

Tauna Thomas has more in this report….

The Ministry of Health and Wellness and other stakeholders are calling for the elimination of trans-fat from food products in the country.

The Minister of Health revealed that information about trans-fat content on food product labels are not always accurate.

Dr. Tufton notes that many of these products are imported.

Meanwhile, Professor at the University of the West Indies’ Caribbean Institute for Health Research, Alafia Samuels, adds that all partially hydrogenated oils, the main ingredient in industrially-produced trans fat, is imported to the country.

Partially hydrogenated oils are a solid form of vegetable oil that has undergone hydrogenation. This process adds hydrogen molecules to the liquid vegetable oil and transforms it into a solid at room temperature. During this process, trans fat forms.

Professor Samuels asserts that there should be legislation that bans the importing of partially hydrogenated oils.

According to Professor Samuels, the Caribbean region is behind the rest of the world in removing trans-fat from foods.

Samuels reports that the ban on industrially-produced trans fat is in effect for 3-point-2 billion people in 57 countries, but none in CARICOM.

Over 70 per cent of the high-income countries have banned trans-fat.

Minister Tufton says it’s possible to eliminate trans fat locally, as Jamaican manufacturers are already removing trans fat to be able to export to its North American trading partners.

Jamaica, as part of CARICOM, has made an agreement with the World Health Organization to have legislation against trans-fat by 2023 and to eliminate it from the region’s supply by 2025.