Determination of trans fatty acid levels by FTIR in processed foods in Australia

Justine McCarthy, Daniel Barr, Andrew Sinclair

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Health authorities around the world advise 'limiting consumption of trans fatty acids', however in Australia the trans fatty acid (TFA) content is not required to be listed in the nutrition information panel unless a declaration or nutrient claim is made about fatty acids or cholesterol. Since there is limited knowledge about trans fatty acid levels in processed foods available in Australia, this study aimed to determine the levels of TFA in selected food items known to be sources of TFA from previously published studies. Food items (n=92) that contain vegetable oil and a total fat content greater than 5% were included. This criterion was used in conjunction with a review of similar studies where food items were found to contain high levels of trans fatty acids. Lipids were extracted using solvents. Gravimetric methods were used to determine total fat content and trans fatty acid levels were quantified by Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy. High levels of trans fatty acids were found in certain items in the Australian food supply, with a high degree of variability. Of the samples analysed, 13 contained greater than 1 g of trans fatty acids per serving size, the highest value was 8.1 g/serving. Apart from when the nutrition information panel states that the content is less than a designated low level, food labels sold in Australia do not indicate trans fatty acid levels. We suggested that health authorities seek ways to assist consumers to limit their intakes of trans fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-396
Number of pages6
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • ATR-FTIR analysis
  • Australian foods
  • Levels in foods
  • Trans fatty acids

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