FSSAI Slashes Trans Fat Limit In Food

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has slashed the amount of trans fatty acids allowed in oils and fats to 3 per cent from 5 per cent.

The FSSAI’s new regulation says that the maximum limit of trans fatty acid shall not be more than 3 per cent by weight, on and from January 1, 2021, and not more than 2 per cent by weight, on and from January 1, 2022.

What are Trans Fats?

  • According to the World Health Organisation, trans-fat, or trans-fatty acids, are unsaturated fatty acids that come from either natural or industrial sources. Naturally occurring trans-fat comes from cows and sheep whereas industrially produced trans-fat are formed in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, converting the liquid into a solid, resulting in ‘partially hydrogenated oil’.

Why they are Dangerous

  • Hard to Metabolise: Trans fats have a specific chemical structure, that our body finds hard to metabolise and also trans fats have no physiological role to play in our body.
  • Increases Cholesterol: Trans fats increase ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and reduce ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, and can trigger diabetes, immune dysfunction and obesity among other things.
  • Increases Cardiovascular Diseases: The WHO estimates that every year, trans fat leads to more than 5,00,000 deaths worldwide, mostly from cardiovascular diseases.
  • Other Health Implications: Those who eat more trans-fat have higher levels of C-reactive protein (a biomarker for inflammation in the body). Further, trans-fat consumption is linked with poor memory and higher risk for dementia too.