WHO presented second report on Global trans fat elimination 2020 online, in collaboration with Resolve to save life an initiative of Vital Strategies. Report accounts data of elimination and use of Trans Fatty acids across several nations, regions and international level also suggesting for the future plans and measures.
The Share in death due to TFAs consumption is two-third by only 15 countries. Out of which four countries i.e., USA, Canada, Latvia, Slovenia, applied the WHO best practices in their regions by making regulations to cut down the use of TFAs and Partially Hydrogenated oils (PHOs) but remaining 11 countries, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan including India need to accept the terms for better health of their citizens.
We, India has less stringent measures earlier but FSSAI has taken cognizance into the matter and has put a cap on the use of TFAs which should not be above 2% and eliminations of the usage by 2022, which is an ahead before the global target.
In August,2019, FSSAI formulated the policies of the TFA usage and restricted the use of TFAs in food upto 2% only. As per WHO, India has less restrictive measure in the context.
“Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,director-general, WHO, said, “In a time when the whole world is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, we must make every effort to protect people’s health. That must include taking all steps possible to prevent non-communicable diseases that can make them more susceptible to the coronavirus, and cause premature death. So our goal of eliminating trans fats by 2023 must not be delayed.”
“Scientific evidence suggests that every 2 per cent of calorie intake that comes from trans fats, a person’s heart disease risk increases by an incredible 23 per cent. Indians consume a lot of snacks which are made from vanaspati, a very rich source of trans fats. FSSAI needs to continue with campaigns like ‘Eat Right’, ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’ and need cut down on salt, sugar and oil consumption by 30 per cent in three years,” said Dr Eram Rao, Associate Professor, Delhi University.
To ensure effective implementation of TFAs related regulations and policies and to get the desired health benefits out of these, periodic monitoring of TFA exposure by measuring blood levels in various population groups is essential, according to Dr Avula Laxmaiah, (scientist), head, public health nutrition, ICMR, Hyderabad.
George Cheriyan, director, Cuts International, said, ‘The present pandemic highlights the importance of trans fats-free food since people with comorbidity and preexisting Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are more vulnerable, and at higher risk from Covid-19 virus. Even in normal situation, 61 per cent of total deaths in India annually are attributed to NCDs. So Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Additives) Regulations, 2011, amended in 2019, limiting trans-fat in oils, fats and foods by 2 per cent, should be notified without any further delay.”
Dire need is arising in countries like us, to enforce the good food measures to reduce the food related disorders. In Rajasthan too, it is needed that state should ensure proper TFAs testing facilities and monitoring makeup. In all the MSMEs usage of vegetable oils must be promoted as an alternative to TFAs and PHOs.
All the major counterparts such as MSMEs, Consumer food departments, Food safety organisations should coalesce to be the part of the initiative, so that the pledge of making edibles, TFA and PHO free could be achieved in all its forms.