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Chris Pyne says the fast food industry must commit to reducing trans fat usage. (File photo)

Chris Pyne says the fast food industry must commit to reducing trans fat usage. (File photo) (ABC)

Fast food outlets asked to cut down trans fat usage

The Federal Government has asked fast food companies to voluntarily reduce artificial trans fatty acids in their products.

The Government says the industry has indicated it is willing to act.

The federal assistant health minister, Christopher Pyne, this morning addressed fast food industry representatives at a closed meeting in Sydney.

He says he stressed that fast food companies must commit to reducing harmful trans fats in their cooking.

Mr Pyne says the industry representatives agreed to a September timetable to draft plans to reducing the reliance on trans fats and saturated fats in their products.

"I'm happy to say they are fully cooperative and left the meeting very positive," he said.

"It was very constructive in the battle to reduce the poor diet of many Australians who rely on fast food."

He says if the industry does not act voluntarily, the Government has the option of forcing its hand with mandatory labelling.

"The Government doesn't want to go down that track, we want to work with industry and there's a lot of goodwill with industry," he said.

"I think that will be successful and by September they'll present their plans about how they're going to move forward."

The fast food outlet Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) says it does not need to reduce the level of trans fatty acids it uses in its cooking.

While KFC was at today's forum, it has put out a statement saying it uses palm oil which has a low level of trans fats and therefore will not be changing its recipes or processes.

Lydia Butchtmann from Food Standards Australia says palm oil is extremely high in saturated fats and she is surprised at the statement from KFC.

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