FSSAI launches awareness drive on trans-fats
Polity & Governance
20th Dec, 2018
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched a new mass media campaign in order to create awareness about trans-fats and eliminate them in India by 2022.
- “Heart Attack Rewind”, a public service announcement, will be broadcast in 17 languages for a period of four weeks on YouTube, Facebook, Hotstar, and Voot.
- The campaign will warn citizens about the health hazards of consuming trans-fats and offer strategies to avoid them through healthier alternatives.
- This campaign will concentrate on the demand side (consumers), who in turn, will push the supply side (food manufacturers) to come up with various strategies in order to reduce and later replace trans-fats.
- Since the impact of trans-fats on human health is increasing exponentially, it is very important to create awareness about them.
- 75 per cent of housewives did not know what trans fats is and this campaign would be educating them as well as others about their ill-effects.
- They are naturally found in small amounts in beef lamb and full fat dairy products.
- How they are created: Artificial trans-fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Use of the same cooking oil (heating above 180 degree) continuously in the household also leads to formation of trans-fats.
- Why are they used: Since they are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time, and give foods a desirable taste and texture, they are still widely used despite their harmful effects being well-known.
- Effect of Trans-fats: Partial hydrogenation produces TFAs which is proven to elevate bad cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein) and reduce good cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein). Studies have recently shown that 60,000 deaths occur every year due to cardiovascular diseases, which in turn are caused due to high consumption of trans fats.
- Alternatives of Trans-fats: Interesterification is an alternative to hydrogenation; interesterified oils/fats has no trans-fats and can be used by bakeries and food industry, using fractionated oil, using oil blends, fat replacers are an option.
- Suggested Limits:
- FSSAI has set the unit of trans-fats in food at 5% and has proposed limiting it to 2%.
- WHO has proposed elimination of trans-fat from global food supply by 2023.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
- It is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through regulation and supervision of food safety.
- It was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
- It operates under aegis of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.