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Ban transfats and junk food advertising before 9pm – FPH supports new NICE guidance

The new guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published today (22 June) calls for the food industry to further reduce the salt and saturated fats in the food it produces, building on the work that has already taken place.

For instance, man-made industrial trans fats, which have no nutritional value and have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, should be eliminated from the food we eat, NICE recommends.

Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, President of the Faculty of Public Health:

"I believe this is the most significant and far-reaching public health guidance to come out of NICE so far.

“It takes in a broad sweep of population risk factors and provides an invaluable set of practical recommendations for policymakers, practitioners and researchers. In particular, the recommendation to ban transfats would be an easily implemented and vitally important step in improving the nation’s nutrition.

“A real 'milestone' report and a great resource."

Nearly three million women and three million men are living with the devastating and disabling effects of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke.  Over 40,000 people die from premature cardiovascular disease each year. However, CVD is a largely preventable condition and it can be effectively tackled by making simple lifestyle changes.

The guidance recommendations include:

  • Speeding up the reduction in salt intake in the population, aiming for a maximum intake of 6g per day per adult by 2015 and 3g daily by 2025
  • Encouraging manufacturers to substantially reduce hidden saturated fat in all food products, and considering supportive legislation if necessary
  • Ensuring low salt products and low saturated fat foods are sold more cheaply than their higher content equivalents
  • Eliminating industrially-produced trans fats from processed food and take-aways
  • Extending restrictions on TV advertising for foods high in saturated fats, salt and sugar to 9pm to protect children
  • Establishing the Food Standards Agency’s front-of-pack traffic light labelling system as the national standard for food and drink products in England, and considering using legislation to ensure universal implementation
  • Encouraging local planning authorities to restrict planning permission for take-aways and other food retail outlets in specific areas.

Faculty of Public Health highlighted the need for a ban on transfats and on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed in its public health manifesto in January this year. In 2008 FPH published a position statement supporting traffic light food labelling.

For further information, please contact Suvi Kingsley, FPH Press Officer, on 020 7935 3115 / 07909 780022 or

Written: 22/06/2010 , last modified: 22/06/2010