By Taazakhabar News Bureau
The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry is going all out to promote a trans-fat free world and reduce the industrially produced trans-fatty acids in food to less than 2% by 2022. This is one of its focus areas under the ‘Eat Right India’ movement, carried forward by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Industrial trans-fats are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, and to increase the shelf life of foods. Trans-fats are largely present in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats/oils, vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings, and can be found in baked and fried foods. Globally, industrial trans-fat intake leads to more than 540,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease every year and in India the figure reaches to 60,000 number.
As per the new guidelines to ensure food hygiene and safety — establishments which use trans-fat free fats/oil and do not have industrial trans-fat more than 0.2g/100g will be allowed to voluntarily display “Trans-fat free” logo in their outlets or food products.
According to the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan “Trans fats are the worst type of fats with known health risks. India is committed to eliminate it from the food supply and is progressing towards its objective of Trans-fat elimination by 2022 in a phased manner; a year ahead of the global target set by the WHO.”
He also appreciated the bakeries for voluntarily adopting healthier cooking practices to eliminate trans fats. “Chefs are a very important part of our food ecosystem and with increase in eating-out pattern and growing complexities in life, chefs carry an additional responsibility of ensuring that the food served is not just safe and tasty but also healthier and sustainable to the environment”, he added.
Dr Harsh Vardhan made this observation while addressing the 8th International Chefs Conference at Aero City, in New Delhi. The idea behind the initiative is to encourage Chefs to adopt this scheme PAN India to proudly showcase that they are a ‘Right Place to Eat’.
Another objective of the ‘Eat Right India’, movement is to reduce sodium/salt content from Indian diets. High consumption of salt leads to high blood pressure, which causes heart attacks and strokes. One in six deaths in India is due to high intake of salt. The World Health Organization recommends salt intake of less than 5 grams per day (~2100 mg of sodium) for adults, while an average Indians consume more than two times (approx.11g/day) the recommended daily amount of salt (5 g/day).
Speaking on the occasion, FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal, dwelt upon FSSAI’s Hygiene Rating and Right Place to Eat Scheme as a transparent scoring and rating system to empower consumers with informed food choices for eating out.
Members of the food fraternity including the scientific community, industry, associations, medical and nutrition experts as well as renowned Chefs from across the globe spelt out the need to eliminate trans-fats from the food supply.
FSSAI is constantly making efforts to educate consumers about limiting the consumption of salt, sugar and fat in their diet as a part of the ‘Eat Right India’ movement. The Food Authority, in the past, has launched campaigns like ‘Aaj se Thoda Kam’ featuring National-award winning actor Raj Kumar Rao to make consumers limit the consumption of fat, sugar and salt.
The FSSAI had also launched a “Heart Attack Rewind” campaign to educate consumers on the harmful effects of trans fat and reduce its acceptability in foods. More recently, Virat Kohli has endorsed a nation-wide message to his fans called ‘Eat Right Stay Fit, Tabhi India Super Hit’