Companies will not be forced to eliminate trans fats from products, the Food Standards Agency has said.

The FSA had been asked to consider whether mandatory action was needed on trans fat in food, but at a board meeting yesterday, the FSA ruled consumption rates in the UK were already very low.

Average dietary intakes of trans fat in the UK had fallen to just 1% of food energy and half of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition's recommended maximum intake, the FSA said.

Its priority would be to work with the industry to reformulate foods to reduce saturated fat levels.

“The voluntary reduction of trans fats is a great illustration of a regulator and industry working together for the benefit of public health,” said FSA chair Dame Deirdre Hutton. “I'm delighted that industry has responded so positively to this issue and I think this decision provides a springboard for our future work on salt and saturated fat.”

Meanwhile, companies such as Nestlé, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Wall's, Kellogg's and Allied Bakeries have paid up to £15,000 to advertise in a health booklet distributed in GP surgeries, according to reports in the Guardian.