Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

FSSAI caps transfats in foods

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Trans fats

Mains level : Health threats posed by Trans Fats

The FSSAI has amended its rules to put a cap on trans fatty acids (TFAs) in food products just weeks after it tightened the norms for oils and fats.

What are the new rules?

  • Food products in which edible oils and fats are used as an ingredient shall not contain industrial Trans fatty acids more than 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product, on and from 1st January 2022.
  • In December, the FSSAI had capped TFAs in oils and fats to 3% by 2021, and 2% by 2022 from the current levels of 5%.
  • The 2% cap is considered to be the elimination of trans fatty acids, which is to be achieved by 2022.

What are Trans Fats?

  • Trans fatty acids are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, increase the shelf life of food items and for use as an adulterant as they are cheap.
  • They are present in baked, fried and processed foods as well as adulterated ghee which becomes solid at room temperature.
  • They are the most harmful form of fats as they clog arteries and cause hypertension, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

Why need such regulation?

  • As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 5.4 lakh deaths take place each year globally because of intake of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids.
  • The WHO has called for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply by 2023.
  • The latest FSSAI rules signal the completion of the process of regulating trans fats in India.
  • The move will make a big difference in the health harm caused by this unwanted ingredient.
  • This allows FSSAI and the State-level food safety machinery to focus on implementation and enforcement of the WHO recommendations.
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