Harmful Effects Of Consuming Trans Fats

Question by: Bidyut Baran Mahato, Sanjay Sadashivrao Mandlik, Shrirang Appa Barne, Sudheer Gupta

  1. Whether people in the country are still not aware about the harmful effects of consuming trans-fats and if so, the details thereof;
  2. whether the FSSAI has launched a new mass media campaign in order to create awareness about trans-fats and if so, the details thereof;
  3. whether the Government is planning to eliminate the use of trans-fats in the country by the year 2022 and if so, the details thereof;
  4. whether the FSSAI has issued any draft regulations to meet the World Health Organizations mandated two percent limit regarding trans-fat elimination in oils, fats and extracted fat of food products and if so, the details thereof;
  5. the time by which said regulations are likely to be notified by the Government; and
  6. whether the Government has set any procedure to record the compliance of regulations issued and if so, the details thereof?

Answer by: Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Ashwini Kumar Choubey)

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is constantly working on propagating Eat Right Messages under Eat Right campaign. FSSAI promotes dietary diversity and balanced diets, eating less and timely, eliminating toxic industrial trans fats from food, reducing consumption of salt, sugar and saturated fats.
  • Additionally, mass campaigns have been launched with celebrity influencers like Shri Virat Kohli and Shri Raj Kummar Rao to trigger behavioural changes for informed food choices.
  • A rich repository of content and messaging (print, digital audio and video) has been created and is being disseminated at mass level through various events and exhibitions.
  • FSSAI had launched “Heart Attack Rewind” mass media campaign to educate consumers on the harmful effects of trans fat. ‘Heart Attack Rewind’ is a 30-second public service announcement which was broadcasted in 17 languages on social media platforms. The objective of the campaign was to warn citizens about the health hazards of consuming trans fats and offer strategies to avoid them through healthier alternatives.
  • FSSAI has launched “Trans Fat Free” logo. Food establishments which use trans-fat free fats/oil and do not have industrial trans-fat more than 0.2g/100g of food, in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018 can display “Trans Fat Free” logo in their outlets and on their food products. The use of the said logo is voluntary.
  • The limit of trans fats for vanaspati, bakery shortenings, bakery and industrial margarine, and interesterified vegetable fats/oils is currently prescribed to be not more than 5% under Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
  • FSSAI is working continuously towards bringing down the limit of trans fats content in edible oils and fats such as vanaspati, bakery shortenings, bakery and industrial margarine, and interesterified vegetable fats, refined vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, table margarine, mixed fat spread and vegetable fat spread etc. to less than 2% in a phased manner by 2022.
  • The implementation and enforcement of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and rules and regulations notified thereunder primarily rests with the State/UT Governments.
  • Regular surveillance, monitoring, inspection and random sampling of food products, are undertaken by the officials of Food Safety Departments of the respective States/ UTs to check that they comply with the standards laid down under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and the rules and regulations made thereunder. In cases where the food samples are found to be non-conforming, recourse is taken to penal provisions under Chapter IX of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Note: The 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.

Source : Civil Services Chronicle Online,February, 2021