European margarine manufacturers members of IMACE presented their successful reformulation achievements at a cocktail reception organised in the European Parliament on 6 March 2012.
Retail vegetable fat spreads and margarines used as ingredients in food products have never been lower in fat, saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids than they are today. These positive results are in line with the constant adaptability of margarine products to scientific evidence on nutrition and to public health policies. Margarine manufacturers adopted self-regulation to guide their efforts.
As European federation of the margarine and vegetable fat spreads manufacturers in Europe, IMACE has co-ordinated and led the industry’s efforts towards nutritional improvements. The IMACE Code of Practice on trans fatty acid, launched in 1995 and updated in 2003 and 2007, is the cornerstone of the sector’s reformulation objectives.
MEP Malcolm Harbour, Chair of the Internal Market Committee, welcomed the margarine industry’s initiative to reformulate and its use of innovation to do so. It is the proof that “in the food sector, so much is being done, but also that so much could still be done.” Mr Harbour reminded guests of the importance of innovation, research and development (R&D), and education for the industry at large and particularly for food and drink manufacturers.
IMACE President, Didier Dallemagne (Executive Vice President for Global Spreads at Unilever), and Chris Huscroft (Director of the Innovation Center of CSM), Member of the IMACE Council of Expert, recalled the industry’s long-term commitment to health and its use of innovation to reformulate products despite technical challenges.
“We are very willing to share our experiences with other food sectors” said Chris Huscroft, expressing the sector’s wish to work with authorities and other industry stakeholders in their move towards reformulation. Mr Huscroft called for an update of the 1999 TRANSFAIR study concluding that “a European-wide, up-to-date information would be of great help to measure the progress in reducing trans fatty acids and define targeted next steps at European level.”