Owing to the clear impact of trans fatty acids (TFAs) on cardiovascular disease, Thailand urgently needs to evaluate the problem and formulate appropriate policies in order to protect the health of its own people and to benefit exportation. Since 9 January, 2019, Thailand’s FDA has not allowed the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in foods. The aim of this study was to evaluate the situation and potential health risk from TFAs in foods available in Thailand, changes in fatty acid profiles upon replacement of PHOs, as well as to propose control measures for TFAs in the country. A total of 176 food samples representing potential sources of TFAs were analyzed for fatty acid profiles, which were later used to evaluate potential health risk based on Thailand’s Food Consumption Survey data and the FAO/WHO Guideline on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases (FAO/WHO guideline). Criteria for postmarketing monitoring of TFAs in food products were also proposed. TFAs were naturally highest in butter (5%) but lower than the limit in the FAO/WHO guideline regarding consumption pattern. TFAs in refined cooking oils were 0.4-0.8%, which was below the European Union (EU) legislative limit. Bakery products, i.e., puffs, pies, and deep-fried donuts, that used PHOs contained 3-5% TFAs and were the main sources of TFAs in Thailand. The postmarketing monitoring process should be based on the FAO/WHO guideline and EU legislative limit for TFAs. The PHOs in bakery products could be replaced with blended oils, although saturated fatty acids might increase. Thailand’s TFA problem was mainly due to the use of PHOs in bakery products. It is feasible to replace PHOs with blended oils. The international TFA limits should be used for the postmarketing monitoring of TFAs in foods on the market.

Reference: Chavasit V, Photi J, Kriengsinyos W, Ditmetharoj M, Preecha S, Tontisirin K. Overcoming the Trans Fat Problem in Thailand. Curr Dev Nutr. 2019 Apr 13;3(6):nzz045.