The most awaited demand of experts to reduce the level of trans fats in food items has been met now, as India’s top food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) reduces it to 3%. The current permissible limit of trans fat is 5%. A gazetted notification by FSSAI on December 29 says the level of trans fats in oils and fats will not be more than 3% from January 1, 2021 onwards.
FSSAI draft notification that has been in the works for a couple of years said, “India is committed to the elimination of industrial trans fats in fats/oils, and in foods containing fats/oils in a phased manner. The trans fat content in fats and oils has already been limited to 5%, and the notification to further reduce it to 3% by 2021, and to 2% by 2022 is under process. The regulation is also being extended to food products having fats or oils".
Industrial trans fats are highly toxic compounds that can lead to several non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. In October 2020, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had launched the “Trans Fat Free” logo during the 8th International Chefs Conference in the national Capital. Restaurants and food manufacturers, on voluntary basis, that use trans-fat free fats or oils, which do not have industrial trans fats more than 0.2g/100g of the food can use the logo. An estimate shows 540,000 people die each year globally (and 60000 in India) of cardiovascular diseases, and consumption of food laced with industrial trans fats. The Governmnet is planning to reduce it further to 2% from January 1, 2022 onwards.