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Old 12.06.2007, 19:45
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Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

Does anyone know if it is compulsory in Switzerland to state whether vegetable oil is present as hydrogenated fats? In other words, does the manufacturer have to state its fats are gehaertet (transfats) if they are, or can they get away with saying just vegetable oil?

I have a feeling it is compulsory, but would like to be sure. Today I saw 'palm oel, gedaempft, which sounds very suspicious to me.

Last edited by muze7; 12.06.2007 at 23:59.
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Old 12.06.2007, 23:26
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Re: Law about food contents?

hi Muze, first off, I should say I'm new to the fat-declaration business - it's just not something I've had to give much thought so I hope I've understood the question correctly.

My understanding of it - but I haven't been able to find this on the federal health office's web site - is that food manufacturers must disclose it if their products contain partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats, but not what percentage.

I hope I've got the right end of what you're after. If I haven't, please elaborate - I started to get more interested in learning more as I was looking through this stuff.
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Old 12.06.2007, 23:50
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Re: Law about food contents?

Aha, that is great. I do not care about the percentage, even 1% say 1 gr per 100 gr of a foodstuff in transfat is extremely bad, as 1% of transfat accounts for 24% of world heart disease, so I basically want none.

Hence, any manufacturer that lists any form of fats that are partially hydrogenated or fully, is off my list.

Note this includes most of the bread at Migros, and most of the Roesti you find prepackaged in Switzerland, unfortunately .
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Old 13.06.2007, 00:39
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Re: Law about food contents?

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Aha, that is great. I do not care about the percentage, even 1% say 1 gr per 100 gr of a foodstuff in transfat is extremely bad, as 1% of transfat accounts for 24% of world heart disease, so I basically want none.

Hence, any manufacturer that lists any form of fats that are partially hydrogenated or fully, is off my list.

Note this includes most of the bread at Migros, and most of the Roesti you find prepackaged in Switzerland, unfortunately .
Actually...most packaged and convenience food I believe.... I am also not so sure about the packaging laws, but I do believe they must disclose if hydrogenated fats are present...just not the percentage. I also know there was a recent movement to try and get restaurants to disclose how much is in the food they are preparing...and how much of the food they are preparing is actually 'convenience food'...The gastrosuisse organization (sort of the restaurant union) came out against such a proposal.... I think this will become a larger issue in the near future...just like smoking in restaurants has become a larger issue in more recent times...

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Old 13.06.2007, 08:20
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

Speaking of nasties in the food--does anyone know what high fructose corn syrup is called here? I haven't been able to find a translation into German, but possibly it's just because no one uses it? But I made that same mistake about transfat (thought it was hydrogeniert at first).
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Old 13.06.2007, 09:00
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Re: Law about food contents?

This ETH food science web site (in German only) makes an interesting point. They say that as long as Switzerland doesn't make it mandatory for food manufacturers to declare trans-fats or introduce a limit on their use in food products (only required for baby food), it's difficult for consumers to discern what type of fats they are eating.

http://www.swissfir.ethz.ch/services/zutaten/tfs/index

Sounds as though Muze is right in that it's best to limit consumption of food with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, for lack of detailed information.
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Old 13.06.2007, 10:26
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Re: Law about food contents?

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This ETH food science web site (in German only) makes an interesting point. They say that as long as Switzerland doesn't make it mandatory for food manufacturers to declare trans-fats or introduce a limit on their use in food products (only required for baby food), it's difficult for consumers to discern what type of fats they are eating.

http://www.swissfir.ethz.ch/services/zutaten/tfs/index

Sounds as though Muze is right in that it's best to limit consumption of food with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, for lack of detailed information.
Thanks for the link!
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Old 13.06.2007, 10:50
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

The swiss federal health office,(BundesAmt für Gesundheit) has issued a few recommendations on this webpage,sadly not available in english
http://www.bag.admin.ch/themen/ernae...x.html?lang=de

scroll down tot he TRANSFETTE ,the articles are quite recent

It has also been discussed in the parliament ( Nationalrat)
http://search.parlament.ch/cv-gescha...ch_id=20063832

Currently there is NO such law in Switzerland,they are observing the EU offices who are also discussing this topic too.
The federal health office is currently looking into the need of setting an upper limit of how much trans fatty acids a food can or should contain.
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Old 13.06.2007, 11:07
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

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Does anyone know if it is compulsory in Switzerland to state whether vegetable oil is present as hydrogenated fats? In other words, does the manufacturer have to state its fats are gehaertet (transfats) if they are, or can they get away with saying just vegetable oil?

I have a feeling it is compulsory, but would like to be sure. Today I saw 'palm oel, gedaempft, which sounds very suspicious to me.
There's no law that tells the grocers to declare transfats yet. It is somewhat unclear if the stuff they use to replace the transfats is any healthier, though.

Anyway, a low should be coming up pretty soon - Switzerland has relatively strict food laws. Sodium benzoate, for example, is illegal here (because it is believed it can cause Parkinson's disease) - that's the reason why you can't buy root beer in Switzerland anymore.
I recently discovered the ingredient in Dr Pepper, though (which is sold in Coop) - which kinda surprised me. I guess it's only a matter of time until Dr Pepper is gone, too.
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Old 13.06.2007, 12:10
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

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I recently discovered the ingredient in Dr Pepper, though (which is sold in Coop) - which kinda surprised me. I guess it's only a matter of time until Dr Pepper is gone, too.
Some ingredients are allowed in certain amounts in certain products and are forbidden in others. E.g. The food colour E127 (FDC 3 in US), - a red colour - is forbidden in confectionery (throughout the EU, by the way), but is permitted in maraschino/canned cherries and is also permitted in the colouring of certain pills (medicine)...
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Old 13.06.2007, 23:41
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

Just work out from time to time and all the trans fats and saturated fats and sugar won't hurt you. By the way the fat that is used to replace trans fat is just as bad for you as if you ate trans fat. So just eat what ever you like and work out a few times a week works for me...at least...
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Old 20.09.2007, 02:39
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

Thanks everyone for these responses, and especially Bartholemew for those links!

These sites are quite clear, it is not compulsory yet to list transfat content in Switzerland. This is quite a disappointment. For example, I have not yet found any cookies in this country that I trust, most have listed that they contain transfats and the ones that don't, are usually imported. Dutch cookies for example do not have transfats listed even though the ones I have seen are likely to have them (because they have cream sandwiched between them and cream is often stabilized with this type of fat because it is solid at room temperature). So basically I do not trust labelling that does not mention the fats in detail, especially on foods that are likely to have transfats (cakes, cookies, baked goods like crackers, some bread including much of the Migros bread it seems, potato chips, french fries etc.)

Anyway, it also means most of the fresh pastas at Coop and Migros are out of the question, and Spaetzli too.

Oh well, I hope the government will enforce this soon. It is ridiculous that both Coop and Migros are selling many Bio products that contain transfats, it totally defeats the purpose of creating Bio products. (Note I am talking about industrially produced transfats, not about those that are naturally present in dairy products and meat).

By the way, you cannot exercise ' against' these molecules. As soon as your liver digests them, they start sticking to your arteries. Even toddlers in the US are starting to get these plaques attached to the arterial walls, which in the past, were not seen until people reach the age of 40!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat

Quote:
  • Infertility: One 2007 study found, "Each 2% increase in the intake of energy from trans unsaturated fats, as opposed to that from carbohydrates, was associated with a 73% greater risk of ovulatory infertility…".[40]
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He determined that a nurse's CHD risk roughly doubled (relative risk of 1.94, CI: 1.43 to 2.61) for each 2% increase in trans fat calories consumed (instead of carbohydrate calories). By contrast, it takes more than a 15% increase in saturated fat calories (instead of carbohydrate calories) to produce a similar increase in risk. Eating non-trans unsaturated fats instead of carbohydrates reduces the risk of CHD rather than increasing it.[27] Hu also reports on the benefits of reducing trans fat consumption. Replacing 2% of food energy from trans fat with non-trans unsaturated fats more than halves the risk of CHD (53%). By comparison, replacing a larger 5% of food energy from saturated fat with non-trans unsaturated fats reduces the risk of CHD by 43%.[27]
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Old 20.09.2007, 15:33
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

Make your own cookies & cakes! That's what I do now. I know exactly what goes in them & they are much yummier too! No, it's doesn't take long at all.
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Old 20.09.2007, 16:03
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

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Speaking of nasties in the food--does anyone know what high fructose corn syrup is called here? I haven't been able to find a translation into German, but possibly it's just because no one uses it?
Fortunately for us, high fructose corn syrup is only used in the US extensively as a sugar substitute. It has to do with a tariff against sugar imports, and government subsidies for corn farmers. I have a page about it on my website (http://www.its.caltech.edu/~farnswor/envsite/hfcs.html), and the wikipedia page is decent as well (link is at bottom of my webpage). FYI, soda in the US is made with high fructose corn syrup, whereas everywhere else it is made with real sugar. If you're a Coke/Pepsi/other soda connoisseur, you might notice a difference in taste drinking soda here vs. in the US.

As far as the transfat questions, one thing you can check for is "solid fat". Saturated fats are solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fat (better for you) is liquid. So, saturated fats have a longer shelf life. I think I saw an ingredients list for butter here that included a reference to solid fat, which is both disgusting-sounding and bad for you. Based on the French and Italian ingredients for the butter I actually bought, I can deduce that "partially hydrogenated" (synonymous for transfat) is "teilweise gehaertet" in German, and "saturated" is "gesaettigte". So, avoid those in the ingredients you find.

Also, this butter I bought will probably coat my arteries. Crap.
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Old 20.09.2007, 19:27
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

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Also, this butter I bought will probably coat my arteries. Crap.
Scientists estimate that butter and other animal derived saturated fat are probably ten times less damaging to the arteries than transfats. Go figure how bad the transfats are
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Old 20.09.2007, 19:33
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

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. Based on the French and Italian ingredients for the butter I actually bought, I can deduce that "partially hydrogenated" (synonymous for transfat) is "teilweise gehaertet" in German, and "saturated" is "gesaettigte". So, avoid those in the ingredients you find.

Also, this butter I bought will probably coat my arteries. Crap.
If your "butter" has ingredients other than butter (and maybe salt), you didn't buy butter!
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Old 20.09.2007, 21:46
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

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If your "butter" has ingredients other than butter (and maybe salt), you didn't buy butter!

Yes, I made a mistake on that one. I bought margarine, not "butter", that apparently includes 10% butter. I made the purchase within my first 2 weeks, when a lot of bad decisions were made due to me feeling awkward and foreign. I was sitting deciphering butter ingredients for a good 10 minutes and felt like everyone was staring at me...Now I just feel foreign and don't worry about the awkwardness.

Next time I'll buy something that won't bathe my heart in synthetic chemicals... <knocks on wood> Assuming I make it to a next time, considering how bad this margarine is for me!
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Old 20.09.2007, 22:20
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

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Yes, I made a mistake on that one. I bought margarine, not "butter", that apparently includes 10% butter. I made the purchase within my first 2 weeks, when a lot of bad decisions were made due to me feeling awkward and foreign. I was sitting deciphering butter ingredients for a good 10 minutes and felt like everyone was staring at me...Now I just feel foreign and don't worry about the awkwardness.

Next time I'll buy something that won't bathe my heart in synthetic chemicals... <knocks on wood> Assuming I make it to a next time, considering how bad this margarine is for me!
That made me smile! I spend a lot of times reading the ingredients & I have to say, I never even thought about it, until I saw someone else doing it... I looked the the guy for a few minutes & thought "what a strange man".... Then I drop my head in shame as I realized that's what I look like!!

PS, I actually went to check the ingredients on my butter... "butter, salt". The one without salt doesn't even have an ingredients list!
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Old 21.09.2007, 11:55
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

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For example, I have not yet found any cookies in this country that I trust, most have listed that they contain transfats and the ones that don't, are usually imported.
You may want to try the french "Bonne Maman" cookies. They use butter for their cookies (at least the types I've tried so far) and they're delicious.
I get them at Carrefour, but I think I've seen them at Coop as well.
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Old 04.10.2007, 15:46
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Re: Law about food contents? [or: Transfat in Swiss products]

Hi,

When Whole Foods started to stock unpasteurized heavy cream two years ago, I began making my own butter that tasted quite good and left me with some amounts of really good buttermilk too. It turned out that the process was easy and even more or less cost efficient. I did it for more than a year and almost forgot about buying butter in the stores.

In Lausanne I have not been able to find pure cream, all the cream that I saw has some additives, like E327 and E407 in it. Do you know any cream here what does not have this type of the additives, esp. E407?

And why do people here seem to be so tolerant to additives, even in BIO products?

Edward
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