FSSAI caps Trans Fat in Food

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Syllabus: GS -3

Synopsis: FSSAI has released new directions for Trans fat elimination. What would be its possible benefits?


India is going to join a select group of countries by limiting industrial trans fat to 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product in 2022. India would be achieving the WHO target a year in advance.

  • The trans fat content limit was reduced to 5% from 10% in 2016. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) limited it to 3% by 2021.
  • 32 countries already have some form of mandatory limits on trans fat according to a 2020 report of WHO.
  • The main aim is to restrict the use of industrially produced trans-fat for increasing the shelf life of products at less cost. However, trans-fats are also present naturally in red meat and dairy products.

Read – After oils, FSSAI caps Trans Fatty Acids(TFAs) in foods|ForumIAS Blog

What is the reason behind reducing trans fat content in oils?

The government’s notification applies to edible oils and fats, that are used as ingredients. It also applies to emulsions such as margarine.

  • First, Targetting these specific ingredients only will reduce the trans fat content to 2% in all food items. These are major sources of industrial trans fat.
  • Second, edible oils and fats are the major sources of industrial trans fat. Repeated heating at a high temperature can increase the trans fat content even when the oil contains less than 2% trans fat.
  • Third, the trans fat content in food can negatively change the lipoprotein cholesterol profile. It increases the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decreases the level of HDL or good cholesterol. It results in an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The way forward

  • The benefits of reducing trans fat can be seen in Denmark. It saw a reduction of about 14 deaths related to cardiovascular diseases per 1,00,000 population three years after the Trans-Fat cap.
  • Large food companies are already committed to eliminating industrially-produced trans fat from all their products by 2023. It should be possible for them to match their efforts to the FSSAI standard.
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