India’s Policy Towards Trans Fats

Published: December 18, 2019

Consumption of junk foods high in salt, fats and trans fats are an open invitation to non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart ailments and cancer. A 2016 report by ICMR shows that the disease burden due to unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and cholesterol has increased from 10 to 25 percent since 1990.

A large population of the country is unaware of nutrition and junk food, which presents the chance to mis-sell. Pizza, sandwich and wraps may be considered a healthy fast food meal because of the vegetables, but it has been found to be loaded with salt and high levels of trans fat. Sandwiches perceived as healthy food for raw vegetables but it contains equivalent salt and fat as in pizzas.

Trans fats are deadly and their intake must be avoided in order to prevent diseases, but most food companies do not disclose them. Fast food companies like Domino’s and Subway do not mention trans fats at all on their website.

India’s position

India has a target to reduce the industrially produced trans fat to less than 2% by 2022 in a phased manner. It is a year ahead of WHO’s target to eliminate trans fat from global food supply.

To achieve this target, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched two initiatives which include the Eat Right Movement and the Heart Attack Rewind mass media campaign.

Eat Right Movement: It was launched in July 2018 and is built on two broad pillars of ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’. It aims to cut down on salt, sugar & oil consumption by 30% in three years and to engage & enable its citizens to improve their health by making the right choices.

Swasth Bharat Yatra:  a Pan-India cyclothon, is a key element of the Eat Right Movement. This yatra is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi march and the salt satyagraha of 19430. It aims to lead the nation towards freedom from diseases by creating awareness about the message of Eat Right India across the country.

Heart Attack Rewind: The FSSAI launched a mass media campaign calling for elimination of industrially produced trans fat. It is a 30-second public service announcement and was broadcasted in 17 languages on social media platforms. Heart attack rewind warns citizens about the health hazards of trans fats and offers strategies to avoid them via healthier alternatives.

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