Iceland has opted to follow in Denmark’s footsteps and become the second Nordic country to introduce stricter rules for trans fats in food. The decision was taken after lobbying by the Nordic Council. Trans fats are estimated to cost 50,000 lives a year in the EU, so the danger they pose is a hot topic throughout the continent.
Iceland has opted to follow in Denmark’s footsteps and become the second Nordic country to introduce stricter rules for trans fats in food. Siv Fridleifsdottir hopes that the other Nordic countries will follow suit.
The members of the Nordic Council – irrespective of nationality and party allegiances – have long advocated joint measures to limit fatty acids in food, calling on the whole Region to follow the Danish model and exert pressure on the EU-EEA to follow suit. To date, the Nordic governments have depended on national initiatives to drive the issue. Now, on the recommendation of Siv Fridleifsdottir MP, Iceland has also introduced stricter rules.
“Iceland has at last opted to emulate the Danes as far as trans fats in food are concerned. This will save lives and I hope the other Nordic countries will introduce the same restrictions. Together we would be able to exert far greater influence on the rest of Europe to do the same,” Fridleifsdottir said after the food minister, Jón Bjarnason, had announced the decision.
Steen Stender chaired a Danish Health Council working party on trans fats. Its research led to the introduction in 2004 of the Danish ban on more than 2 grams of trans fats per 100 grams of food. Subsequent studies demonstrate positive results in Denmark. A study by Gentofte Hospital 2005-2006 revealed that the average trans-fat content in Nordic fast foods was 0.4 grams in Denmark, 10 grams in Finland, 14 in Sweden, 16 in Norway and 35 in Iceland.
Siv Fridleifsdottir MP chairs the Nordic Council Welfare Committee. A member of the Centre Group on the Council, Fridleifsdottir is also a former Icelandic minister of the environment, health and Nordic co-operation.
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The Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture
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Steen Stender, consultant, Gentofte Hospital,
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