Thursday, November 15, 2018

FSSAI agrees to reduce the content of trans fats from 5% to 2% in all edible vegetable oils and fats on the representation of HCFI

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned artificial trans fats from American restaurants and grocery store food items. The FDA had deemed trans fats as unsafe in the year 2015 and gave time to all the companies in America until June 18, 2018 to eliminate the ingredient i.e. trans fat from their use.

The trans fats have been a staple in the tastiest junk foods for more than 100 years. The FDA ban applies to artificial trans fats, which are made chemically by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated oil is also trans-fat). Trans fats increase the shelf life of packaged foods, and restaurants like to use it as oil for deep frying because it does not need to be changed as often as other oils.

The FDA’s move to provide an ultimatum for the ban of trans fats in American restaurants is a highly welcome one and should be replicated with immediate effect in India as well. The health effects of these are not unknown but consumption in various forms continues, particularly when it comes to eating outside food. Trans fats are a byproduct of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening and that prevents liquid vegetable oils from turning rancid. Trans fats boost LDL as much as saturated fats do. They also lower protective HDL, enhance inflammation and increase the tendency for blood clots to form inside blood vessels.

Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen molecules into vegetable oils. This changes the chemical structure of the oil, turning it from a liquid into a solid. The process involves high pressure, hydrogen gas, and a metal catalyst – and the end-product is highly unsuitable for human consumption.

Foods rich in trans fats tend to be high in added sugar and calories. Over time, these can pave way for weight gain and even type 2 diabetes, not to mention heart problems. It is time to take a strong stand against their use in eateries outside considering the fact that many people eat in restaurants regularly in today’s day and age.

In view of the above, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) humbly requested the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Hon’ble Minister of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Hon’ble Minister of Ministry of Law & Justice vide representation dated 21.06.2018 to take immediate steps and to pass necessary directions thereby banning the use of trans fat in all restaurants, cafes, hotels, grocery items in India also, in the same manner as it has been banned in America.

HCFI also requested them to pass necessary discretions and to take necessary action for creating awareness among the public at large and for encouraging the public at large to:

      i.        Choose foods lower in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.

     ii.        Replace saturated and trans fats in their diet with mono- and polyunsaturated fats. These fats do not raise LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels and have health benefits when eaten in moderation. Sources of monounsaturated fats include olive and canola oils. Sources of polyunsaturated fats include soybean, corn, sunflower oils, and foods like nuts.

    iii.        Choose vegetable oils (except coconut and palm kernel oils) and soft margarines (liquid, tub, or spray) more often because the combined amount of saturated and trans fats is lower than the amount in solid shortenings, hard margarines, and animal fats, including butter.

   iv.        Most fish are lower in saturated fat than meat. Some fish, such as mackerel, sardines and salmon, contain omega–3 fatty acids that are being studied to determine if they offer protection against heart disease.

    v.        Limit foods high in cholesterol such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks and full–fat dairy products, like whole milk.

   vi.        Choose foods low in saturated fat such as fat free or 1% dairy products, lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, whole grain foods and fruit and vegetables.

The said representation of HCFI has been duly accepted by the Central Government and vide letter dated 01.08.2018, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has stated that the FSSAI is in the process of notifying the limits of trans-fat in all edible vegetable oil and fats to be not more than 2% by weight in a phased manner by 2022. The relevant portion of the letter dated 01.08.2018 is reproduced hereunder:

“Please refer to grievance dated 26.06.2018 with registration no. PMOPG/D/2018/0229751 regarding banning use of trans-fat in all restaurants, cafes, hotels, grocery items in India. In this regard, it is informed that the Food Safety and Standards (Food products Standard and Product Additives) Regulations, 2011, prescribe that the trans-fat shall not be more than 5% by weight in some types of vegetable fats. Further, the FSSAI is in the process of notifying the limits of trans-fat in all edible vegetable oils and fats to be not more than 2% by weight in a phased manner by 2022. The other concerns regarding creating awareness among the public have been noted.”

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania   (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Immediate Past National President IMA


No comments:

Post a Comment