India’s food regulatory body reduces limit for trans fat levels in foods

FSSAI has reduced the amount of trans fatty acids in fats and oils to 3% for the year 2021 and aims at reducing it to 2% by the year 2022.

Reduction in Trans fat
Reduction in Trans fat

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India- FSSAI has reduced the amount of trans fatty acids in fats and oils to 3% for the year 2021 and aims at reducing it to 2% by the year 2022.

The reduction will be done from the current permissible limit of 5% by an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards Regulations.

The amendment was notified by the food regulatory body on December 29, 2020, more than a year after it had issued a draft on the subject for consultation with the stakeholders.

The revised regulation by FSSAI applied to vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), edible refined oils, bakery shortenings, margarine and other mediums of cooking like mixed fat spreads and vegetable fat spreads.

Why the reduction of trans fatty acids is significant?

The trans fats in oils and fats are associated with an increased risk of death from coronary heart diseases and heart attacks. According to the World Health Organisation, approx. 5.4 lakh deaths every year take place globally because of the consumption of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids. The health agency has also called for the elimination of trans fats globally by 2023.

As per the Chief Operation Officer of Consumer VOICE, Ashim Sanyal, the rule has come at a time of COVID-19 pandemic where the burden of non-communicable diseases has risen as cardiovascular disease along with diabetes are proving to be fatal for the patients of COVID-19.

He added that the regulation by FSSAI must not be only restricted to fats and oils but it must apply to all the foods. Hopefully, the regulatory body will be addressing this as well before January 2022 for eliminating chemical trans fatty acids from the Indian platter.

Industry players to comply with WHO’s call for reducing trans- fat:

As the regulation by FSSAI comes into effect, the industry players took a pledge back in 2018 that they will be complying with the World Health Organisation’s call for reducing the Trans Fatty Acids- TFA by 3% by the year 2021. It allowed them three years to comply with the newly passed regulation.

India in 2011 had first passed a regulation which had set a TFA limit of 10% in fats and oils. It was further reduced to 5% in 2015.

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