The letter calls for the amount of industrially produced trans-fatty acids (TFAs), which are linked to an increased risk of cardio-vascular diseases, to be limited at 2g per 100g of fat. It is hoped that a ban would improve public health and provide a level playing field both for customers and businesses across the EU.
TFAs are added to products such as pastries, fries and margarine to increase their shelf-life, allow for multiple re-heatings and help fat solidify.
However, it is believed they reduce levels of good cholesterol while raising levels of bad, resulting in an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
The United States and several EU member countries have already introduced limits on the amount of TFAs in foods.
According to the letter, the businesses who have signed the letter are striving to remove TFAs from their goods.
Monique Goyens, director general of the Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs – a Europe-wide consumer lobby group, which has also signed the letter, said: “We are thrilled major food companies acknowledge the need to slash trans-fatty acids from their foods and join our sustained effort. It is high time the Commission heeds our call and helps EU consumers drop their trans-fat intake by fixing legal caps.”