FSSAI new Trans Fat levels

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India recently announced that all edible refined oils, vegetable fat spreads, Vanaspati, margarines, Bakery shortening and mixed fat spreads can contain only 3% or less trans fats. This is to be implemented by January 2021.   By January 2022, this is to be further reduced to 2%. This is being introduced because the World Health Organisation has called for global elimination of trans fat by 2023.

How are trans fats created?

The trans fats are created artificially during the hydrogenation process of vegetable oils. They result in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the major source of Trans fats. Some trans fats are also formed during manufacturing processes. For instance, trans fats are formed during high temperature refinement process used in making vegetable oils.

What are the risks of Trans fats?

Consumption of Trans fats results in heart diseases. In 2017, the Global market volume of partially hydrogenated oils (the main source of Trans Fats) was 13.6 million tonnes. Eliminating trans fats can save more than 17 million lives in next 25 years.

Why is the regulation made by FSSAI important?

India has the highest burden of heart diseases due to high trans-fat in the world.

According to REPLACE annual report of World Health Organisation that was released in September 2020, more than 40 countries have implemented the “Best practice policies to eliminate trans fats”. The best practice policies limit trans fats to 2% or less. India has so far not implemented the practice. Therefore, the recent regulation introduced by FSSAI is important.

What is REPLACE?

It was launched by the World Health Organisation in 2018. REPLACE is six areas of actions as follows

  • REview dietary sources of industrially produced trans fats
  • Promote the replacement of industrially produced trans fats with healthy oils and fats
  • Legislate regulatory actions to eliminate trans fats
  • Assess trans-fat content in food supply and changes in trans-fat consumption
  • Create awareness about the ill effects of Trans fats
  • Enforce complaint policies and regulations

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