Burton’s Foods, baker of Jammie Dodgers and Maryland Cookies, has become the latest supplier to remove hydrogenated vegetable oil from all of its products.

The company has pledged that its portfolio of over 100 products will be free from artificial trans fats from now on.

Retailers Asda, Boots, Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Iceland, Sainsbury’s Tesco and Waitrose have already committed to remove industrial trans fats from own-brand lines by the end of 2007 at the latest, through trade body the British Retail Consortium.

"We recognised the need to take action over trans fats and are pleased to be able to reassure consumers by removing hydrogenated fats from all our products," said Paul Kitchener, chief executive at Burton’s Foods (pictured).

"Taking a proactive approach to balanced, healthy eating, at the same time as producing biscuits that consumers enjoy is crucial to us. We are extremely proud of our bakery heritage, which goes back over 70 years. Our promise is that we will only ever use ingredients that are essential to the baking of our snacks."

In recent years, trans fats have risen to the top of the food and health agenda. A number of studies have linked them to coronary heart disease.

In December 2006, New York City’s Board of Health banned trans fats from the city’s restaurants. Restaurants will be banned from using most frying oils and all foods containing trans fats by July 2008.

A similar ban is being proposed in Chicago, in the state of Illinois; other cities may follow suit.