CASE flags margarine brands for mislabelling products

A test commissioned by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) has found two margarine brands' products wrongly labelled as “zero trans fat” despite containing some trans fat. The brands are Unilever’s Flora and Sunny Meadow, manufactured by Atlantic Pacific Foods.

The products in question include S07 Flora Light 500G, S08 Flora Original 500G, S18 Sunny Meadow Spread with Canola Oil 500G and S19 Sunny Meadow Spread with Olive Oil 500G. Marketing has reached out to Flora parent company Unilever and Sunny Meadow manufacturer Atlantic Pacific Foods for comment.

According to CASE, under rules from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), food with less than 0.5% of trans fat may be labelled “trans-fat free”. But they cannot be labelled as having “zero trans fat” unless they have none. The statement read:

The exact value should still be indicated on the food label and not be rounded down to zero. CASE has shared these findings with AVA and they will be investigating this matter.

However, all samples were found to be within the statutory limit of 2%, said CASE.

CASE has also shared that it has sought clarification from the relevant manufacturers and importers. So far, manufacturers and importers were able to substantiate their declared values, with differences being attributed as variance due to sample handling and analytical methodology.

The test by CASE was first commissioned a test in July 2016 to find out if the levels of trans fat in margarines and vegetable oil-based spreads sold here satisfied the limit allowed by the AVA.

According to food regulations administered by AVA, pre-packed edible fats and oils should not contain trans fatty acids at levels exceeding 2%. 20 types of common household margarines and vegetable oil-based spreads were purchased during the time of the study. Samples were then sent to CASE’s designated laboratory and tested using accredited trans fat analysis.