The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, in order to strengthen its fight against trans-fats and limiting its percentage in food products, has decided to put forth a regulation through an amendment in the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations, 2019.
Earlier, this was a voluntary provision, but with the amendment in the regulation, FSSAI is making it mandatory for the food businesses.
According to the experts, trans-fats are considered to be the worst type of fats. A diet laden with trans-fats increases the risk of heart diseases and decreases good cholesterol in thehydrogenated oil,.
The manufactured form of trans-fat, known as partially hydrogenated oil, is found in a variety of food products, including baked goods, snacks, fried foods, creamers, and margarine.
The draft stated, “Food products in which edible oils and fats are used as an ingredient shall not contain trans fatty acids more than two per cent by weight of the total oils/fats present in the product, on and from January 1, 2022.”
Recently, the regulator also launched the trans-fat-free logo. It will help the FBOs make claims about the same, while helping consumers make informed choices.
For the last two years, FSSAI has been engaged in intense campaigning to reduce the trans-fats from the food products, particularly against industrially-produced trans-fats.
The FSSAI’s plan is inspired by the WHO’s (World Health Organization) programme called Replace. According to the FSSAI, the industry has recognised the threat trans-fat poses for a healthy diet system, and therefore, agrees with the plan.
Foods that did not contain trans-fats were not necessarily good for health. However, food manufacturers have to substitute these fats with good ones.
Ingredients such as olive, peanut and canola oils — is a healthier option than saturated fat. Nuts, fish and other foods containing unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are other good choices of foods with healthy fats.
“India has become aware of health issues pertaining to trans-fats. More and more food companies are now considering lower limits of trans-fats. Also, with strict regulation by FSSAI, the FBOs have been encouraged to deploy new healthier options. Food companies will have to substitute these unsaturated fats to create space for a healthier market,” Ashwin Bhadri, chief executive officer, Equinox Labs Mumbai,Bhadri opined.