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Kerala food safety department to introduce trans-fat-mimicking products
Tuesday, 23 April, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Kerala food safety department has decided to introduce trans-fat-mimicking products in the state, in order to reduce the burden of industrially-produced or hydrogenated trans-fats in the food chain like vanaspati or margarine. These food products are called interestersides, and state food safety department officials have claimed that they contain very small amounts of trans-fats.

The food safety department of the southern state, in coordination with Vital Strategies, a US-based think-tank working on health issues, WHO (World Health Organization) and the state health department have launched a campaign to make people aware about the trans-fats and reduce the use of hydrogenated trans-fats.

So far, the Kerala food safety department has organised two workshops involving stakeholders. A senior official of the department stated, “The first workshop was organised in Kozhikode and second at Ernakulam. In these workshops, participants were informed about the sample collection and testing methods with respect to hydrogenated fats.”

He added that a demonstration was also given to the FBOs (food business operators) on the production of cookies and bakery products using trans-fat-mimicking products, and it was proved to the stakeholders that using trans-fat-mimicking products will have no impact on the texture and taste of the end products.

The state food safety department also ran a pilot project to find out the presence of trans-fats in the food products across the state, and found several products containing trans-fats in excess of the limit prescribed by FSSAI, the country’s apex food regulator.  

The official said that hydrogenated trans-fats were the main reason behind the rising cardiovascular health concerns, and due to continuing efforts, FBOs were ready to replace such products with much healthier versions.

It is pertinent to mention here that in May 2018, WHO launched a comprehensive plan, including the REPLACE six-step action package, to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fats from the global food supply by 2023.

FSSAI aims to eliminate transfats in India by the year 2022, a year ahead of the global target.

The reformulation of products that use trans-fats is essential to this goal, and after a consultation earlier this year, vanaspati manufacturers, food companies, bakery associations and others signed a pledge to support the regulator’s plan to lower the levels of trans-fats in India’s food supply from the present les than five per cent to less than two per cent.
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