STRASBOURG, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Mandatory limits on industrially-produced and health-threatening trans-fatty acids should be set across the European Union, according to a resolution adopted Wednesday by the European Parliament, gathered here for its plenary session.
Trans fats, or trans-fatty acids (TFAs), are a kind of unsaturated fat widely used in the food industry since the 1950s.
The consumption of TFA, which is mostly linked to industrially-produced, partially hydrogenated oils, shows evidence of posing higher risk of cardiovascular disease, infertility, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and obesity.
German Member of European Parliament (MEP) Renate Sommer, one of the MEPs behind this resolution, said: "The excessive consumption of trans fatty acids increases the risk of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is conservatively estimated to account for some 660,000 deaths annually in the EU or some 14 percent of overall mortality."
Wednesday's resolution, adopted overwhelmingly by 586 votes in favor to 19 against, with 38 abstentions, notes that current labelling measures are insufficient, as only one in three European Union (EU) consumers knows about TFAs, according to a 2015 European Commission report.
The text also observed that 2 percent legal limits for industrial TFAs introduced in 2003 in Denmark, the first EU member state to do so, were successful in significantly reducing deaths caused by cardiovascular disease.
MEPs also lamented that TFAs are most often used in less expensive foods, leading to greater exposure levels for people on lower incomes and increased potential for health inequalities.
The EU does not currently have legislation regulating TFA content in foods or requiring labelling. Along with Denmark, Austria, Hungary and Latvia have legal limits on TFAs, while several other countries have voluntary measures or dietary recommendations in place.
The World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends reducing TFA consumption to less than 1 percent of daily energy intake, considering the health risks posed to be overwhelming.