09 May Target 2023 to Eliminate Trans Fats
In partnership with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA), the World Health Organisation (WHO) set 2023 as the target year to eliminate trans fats from the industrially produced food supply.
- Trans fat is the worst form of fat that is known to be a cause for several heart ailments.
- They are directly related to over 500,000 deaths a year across the world.
- WHO has said that eliminating trans fats is the easiest and simplest ways to save lives.
- IFBA members pledged to limit the quantity of trans fats to 2gm per 100gm fat/oil globally by 2023.
- In the meeting held by WHO Director and 12 major food and beverages companies of the world, also discussed the amounts of salt and sugar in foods and saturated fats.
- Also came to the discussion was the value of regulatory action on labeling and marketing.
- WHO urged the members to strictly adhere to regulatory guidelines.
- These are unsaturated fatty acids found marginally in nature by are produced from vegetable oils extensively.
- These fats are formed through the process of hydrogenation where hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them solid.
- The process is inexpensive, creates a longer shelf-life and thus is an advantage for the food industry.
- Trans fats are also produced when heating oil repeatedly at 180-degree centigrade.
- But, these fats pose a major health risk.
- They are known to cause coronary artery disease.
- Trans fats increase the amount of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) in the body and also significantly decreases High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) that is beneficial to the heart.
- The fats are also known to cause diabetes, cancer, obesity, liver dysfunction, etc.
India and Trans Fats:
- In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has brought out guidelines in 2015 to restrict trans fats to 5% in industrially produced food.
- In November 2018, FSSAI launched a mass media campaign creating awareness on trans fats and eliminating them by 2022 in the country.
- The campaign is titled ‘Heart Attack Rewind’.
- Various states in India have also launched campaigns to rein in trans fats. Kerala is the pioneer state.
- At the world stage, Denmark is the first country to ban trans fats.
- India has a high burden of coronary heart disease which is directly attributed to diet.
- Due to changing lifestyles, people are preferring off the shelf processed food which is rich in trans fats.
- Awareness is now being spread on the adverse effects of trans fats.
- Many food industry majors too pledged to reduce the quantity of trans fats in the food.
- Individual discipline is the need of the hour to lead a healthy life.