FSSAI reduces trans fat levels in foods from 5% to 3%
The long-pending demand from experts to lower the level of trans fat in food has been met, and India’s main food regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) cut it down to 3%. The current allowable limit is 5%.
“India is committed to phasing out industrial trans fats in fats / oils and in foods containing fats / oils. The trans fat content in fats and oils has already been capped at 5%, and notification to further reduce it to 3% by 2021 and 2% by 2022 is in the works. The regulation is also being extended to food products that contain fats or oils, ”said the draft FSSAI notification that has been in the works for a couple of years.
The regulator, on December 29, published a notice in the bulletin that the level of trans fats in oils and fats will not exceed 3% from January 1, 2021 onwards. The level will be further reduced to 2% from January 1, 2022 onwards.
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Industrial trans fats are toxic compounds that can cause various non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease. These are formed during the hydrogenation of vegetable oils (adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid) to increase the shelf life of foods and other processes such as heating the oil to a high temperature.
Industrial trans fats are largely present in partially hydrogenated fats such as margarine and shortening used in the preparation of bakery products and in vanaspati that is used to prepare sweets and fried products.
In October last year, the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launched the “Trans Fat Free” logo during the 8th International Chefs Conference in the national capital.
The logo is intended to be used by restaurants and food manufacturers, on a voluntary basis, who use fats or oils without trans fats, which do not contain industrial trans fats in more than 0.2 g / 100 g of the food.
An estimated 540,000 people die each year worldwide from cardiovascular disease, and consumption of foods laced with industrial trans fats is a contributing factor. In India, the death toll is around 60,000, according to government data.