The move by FSSAI is the first step towards fulfilling its duties stated in 2018 to limit trans-fats in both edible oils and in all foods
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has declared that all edible refined oils, margarines, bakery shortening, vanaspati, mixed fat spread and vegetable fat spreads may only contain up to 3 per cent trans fats by January 2021 and 2 per cent or less trans fats by January 2022.
The move by FSSAI is the first step towards fulfilling its duties stated in 2018 (when the permissible levels were set at 5 per cent) to limit trans-fats in both edible oils and in all foods.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for global elimination of trans fat by 2023 and this regulation is a crucial step in that direction. As per WHO’s REPLACE second annual report in September 2020, around 40 countries have already implemented the best practices to eliminate trans fats. These policies reduce industrially produced trans fats levels to 2 per cent or less of total fats in all foods. FSSAI’s new regulations will bring the trans fats levels down to the limit suggested by the WHO.
High intake of trans fats is associated with an increased risk of heart diseases. According to 2017 estimates, out of all countries in the world, India has one of the highest rates of heart disease deaths due to high trans-fat consumption. More than 1.5 million deaths take place each year due to coronary heart disease, and nearly 5 per cent of these deaths (71,000) can be attributed to trans fats consumption.
Ashwin Bhadri, CEO of Equinox Labs, said, “With FSSAI regulating trans fats to 3 per cent now and aiming for 2 per cent by 2022 in oils and fats, India has achieved a lifesaving milestone. This comes as a relief at the time of a pandemic as cardiovascular diseases are proving to be fatal for covid patients.”