Leading doctors have called for a ban on trans fats as part of a manifesto to improve the nation's health.
The Faculty for Public Health and the Royal Society for Public Health, which together represent almost 10,000 health specialists, made the recommendation as part of a 12-point plan to improve health and reduce obesity.
Trans fats are chemically-altered vegetable oils used to increase the shelf life of cakes and pastries. They raise cholesterol levels and increase the chances of heart attacks. Denmark has banned their use, as has Switzerland and California.
Health experts say that artificial trans fats increase the risk of heart disease, may cause Alzheimers and can decrease fertility. They have no known nutritional benefits. Trans fats also occur naturally in meat and dairy products, but these pose no risk.
Other initiatives proposed as part of the public health manifesto include a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol sold, free school meals for all children under 16 and compulsory front-of-pack labelling for all pre-packaged food.
Professor Richard Parish, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: "We are facing unprecedented challenges to public health ranging from climate change to a catastrophic diet and accidents to alcohol abuse. The time to act is now, not wait until it is too late to do anything meaningful. Many of the actions needed require political will, rather than resources. This manifesto represents a start upon which the next Government can build a healthier and more prosperous future"
Government resists calls for minimum alcohol price >>
By James Stagg
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