The meaning of transfree

In industrial practice there is practically no such thing as fat that is completely free of TFA. This is because fat compositions, except for in laboratory conditions, will almost always contain small amounts of TFA. They evolve either from natural processes or are due to configurational changes of the unsaturated bonds in fatty acids on exposure to elevated temperatures. However, these TFA are typically found at low levels, so their nutritional contribution can be neglected. This is not strictly true for ruminant fat with TFA levels of several per cent. Consequently the term 'virtually trans free' (VTF), implying levels of TFA of less than 1% in the fat phase seems an appropriate description for products that contain no deliberately generated or added TFA. The translation of the desire to restrict the consumption of TFA by legislators has so far resulted in quite divergent approaches. On the one hand, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration issued an order (Stender and Dyerberg, 2003) that limits the concentration of TFA in fat phases of food products to a level below 2 weight per cent. Naturally occurring TFA in animal fats and conjugated linoleic acid are excluded from this restriction. On the other hand, the labeling of '0 g Trans' in the United States as per 1 January 2006, according to the Food and Drug Administration (Food and Drug Administration, 2003), is related to an uptake of TFA of less than 0.5 g per serving of the food product. Here the official definition of TFA reads 'all unsaturated fatty acids that contain one or more isolated double bonds in a trans configuration'. The FDA also excludes conjugated fatty acids from this definition. These quite divergent definitions and regulations allow for different technical solutions to compliance requirements.

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