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Ban on Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs)

1. Background

As part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to create a healthier environment for Singaporeans, PHOs, the main source of artificial trans fat, will be banned as an ingredient in all foods, including fats, oils, and pre-packaged foods sold in Singapore, whether manufactured locally or imported, from June 2021.

Trans Fat - A Serious Health Concern

The key source of trans fat in our diets is artificial trans fat in the form of PHOs, which is formed during partial hydrogenation, an industrial process which converts liquid oil to semi-solid fats to increase the shelf-life of products. It is estimated that about 10% of pre-packaged snacks, baked goods, prepared meals and fat spreads in Singapore currently contain PHOs.

Trans fat consumption is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. There is no safe level of consumption of trans fat1 2. A meta-analysis of four prospective cohort studies involving nearly 140,000 subjects found that a four-grams increase in daily trans fat intake was associated with a 23% increase in incidence of cardiovascular disease3. In recognition of the harms of trans fat, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to take steps to eliminate artificial trans fat in our diets by 2023. With Singapore’s introduction of a ban on PHOs, we will join the list of jurisdictions, including the U.S., Canada, Taiwan and Thailand, which have since implemented a similar ban.

2. What is the scope of this ban?

The ban on PHO is an ingredient level ban, which will cover all foods that are manufactured or sold in Singapore.

3. Enquiries and Feedback

If you have enquiries on the ban on PHO, please write in to transfatban@hpb.gov.sg

4. Resources

MOH Press Release

References:
1Mozaffarian et al (2009) Health effects of trans-fatty acids: experimental and observational evidence. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 63, S5-S21.
2World Health Organization. (2016) Effects of trans fatty acids intake on blood lipids and lipoproteins: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis.
3Mozaffarian et al. (2006) Trans Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 354(15), 1601–1613.