Aim to limit use of industrial trans fats by 2022, says FSSAI
Country’s top food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), that recently notified trans fatty acid rules, aims to limit industrial trans fat in all fats and oils to not more than 2% by January, 2022.
The regulation directs limiting industrial trans fatty acids to not more than 3% in all fats and oils by January 2021 and not more than 2% by January, 2022.
All food products in which edible oils and fats are used as an ingredient will not contain industrial trans fatty acids more than 2% by mass of the total oils or fats present in the product, on and from January 1, 2022, as per the regulation.
Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Second Amendment Regulations, 2021 was gazette notified last week.
“With the enactment of recent regulations on trans fats, India joins the club of around 40 countries globally that have already enacted the best practice policies to eliminate trans fats and would be among the first countries in Asia after Thailand in achieving the best-practice policies in trans fat elimination,” said FSSAI in a statement on Tuesday.
Industrial trans fatty acids (iTFAs) or trans fats are produced by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them solid, which increases their stability at room temperature and extends shelf life. Trans fats are largely present in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats/oils, vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings, and can be found in baked and fried foods.
Research has shown that higher intakes of industrially produced trans fatty acids are associated with increased risk of high cholesterol and heart diseases. According to 2017 estimates, every year at least 1.5 million deaths in India are due to coronary heart disease, of which nearly 5% (71,000) are due to trans fats intake.
The regulation excludes trans-fatty acids from dairy, meat, fish and their products.
World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2018, had also called for elimination of industrially-produced trans-fat from the food supply by 2023.
“To facilitate the transition towards a Trans Fatty Acids free food supply, FSSAI is also building capacities of the industry and in this regard, recently concluded a series of webinars on trans fats. Each webinar was planned to target specific stakeholders focusing on challenges faced by them towards making a shift to trans-fat-free products and suggesting practical technological solutions through talks delivered by national and international experts,” FSSAI said.
The webinars were attended by nearly 3,700 participants from the edible oil industry, food businesses, bakers, chefs, restaurateur and hoteliers, sweet and namkeen manufacturers, food analysts from food analytical laboratories and academic institutions.