Recently, FSSAI has reduced the trans fat levels in foods from 5% to 3%
What are Trans Fats?
Trans fats or trans-fatty acids are a form of unsaturated fat associated with a number of negative health effects. Trans fats are the result of partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fat
Types of Trans fats
Trans fats come in both natural and artificial forms.
- Natural, or ruminant, trans fats occur in the meat and dairy from ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. They form naturally when bacteria in these animals’ stomachs digest grass.
- Artificial trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to unsaturated liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Food manufacturers use partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) to improve the texture, shelf life, and flavour of food
- Artificial trans fats are found in fried foods, commercial baked goods, processed foods, etc. and naturally formed trans fats are found in small quantities in meat, milk, and milk products.
Ill effects of trans fats
- Increased bad cholesterol: Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat raises your “bad” cholesterol and also lowers your “good” cholesterol. They also lower your HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Heart disease: Trans fats are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and death from coronary heart disease. Trans fats increase low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and decrease high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regulations of Trans fats
- Capping on TFA: FSSAI has capped the amount of trans fatty acids (TFA) in oils and fats to 3% for 2021 and 2% by 2022 from the current permissible limit of 5% through an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations.
- Applicability: The revised regulation applies to edible refined oils, vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, bakery shortenings, and other mediums of cooking such as vegetable fat spreads and mixed fat spreads.
- Though the regulation comes into effect immediately, industry players were made to take a pledge back in 2018 that they would comply with WHO’s call for action to reduce TFA by 3% by 2021 allowing them three years to comply with the latest regulation.
- It was in 2011 that India first passed a regulation that set a TFA limit of 10% in oils and fats, which was further reduced to 5% in 2015.
WHO on trans fats
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 5.4 lakh deaths take place each year globally because of the intake of industrially produced trans-fatty acids. The WHO has also called for global elimination of trans fats by 2023.