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FSSAI to put forth regulation limiting trans-fats through FSSR amendment
Monday, 09 September, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
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.

The country’s apex food regulator had issued a draft notification saying that from January 1, 2022, the limit of trans-fats in the food products shall not be more than two per cent.

Earlier, it was a voluntary provision, but through this regulation, FSSAI is making it mandatory for the food businesses.

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.”

“To reach the target of Trans-fat Free India by 2022, regulations to reduce trans-fats to less than two per cent in all oils, fats and food products are in place,” said Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI.

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.

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 the human body.

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.

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.

Agarwal also pointed out that industry whole heartily agreed to eliminate the trans-fat and they would look for alternatives for the products’ manufacturing.

According to Ashwin Bhadri, chief executive officer, Equinox Labs Mumbai, the FBOs have a daunting task ahead of them to research on availability of substitutes and then develop products which can be taxing.

“However, the regulation will be effective from January 1, 2022, and FBOs have a good time on their hands. A good amount of efforts and time shall be needed by FBOs for product development with said standards by FSSAI. Moreover, India will see the face of a new market in a couple of years,” he said.

Bhadri added that 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,” Bhadri opined.
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