Food manufacturers should be banned from adding trans fatty acids to any food consumed in Australia, AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today.
'The AMA believes the addition of trans fatty acids to food should be phased out completely,' Dr Haikerwal said.
'In the meantime, any food products that have had trans fatty acids added to them should be properly labelled to highlight the fact.
'Mandatory labelling should be introduced immediately.'
Trans fatty acids can be found in fast food and packaged snacks such as chips, chicken nuggets and pizza, as well as bakery products including pies, doughnuts, biscuits and cakes.
'Trans fats appear to increase the risk of coronary heart disease more than any other macronutrient,' Dr Haikerwal said.
'They may increase the risk of sudden death from a heart attack, and are associated with diabetes.'
Removing trans fats is unlikely to affect the way a product tastes, Dr Haikerwal said.
'The experience in countries which have already phased in bans is that there has been little impact on the taste or cost of affected products,' he said.
'Experiences elsewhere demonstrate that such a ban can and should be implemented as soon as possible.'
Currently, trans fats are rarely identified on food labels.
'You'll rarely see trans fatty acid on an ingredient label,' Dr Haikerwal said.
'It's often called hydrolysed or hydrogenated vegetable fat, but it can have other names.
'Consumers deserve to know what they're eating - any trans fatty acids that have been used as an ingredient should be clearly listed on the label.'