Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

FSSAI slashes limit for Trans Fats level in food


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Trans fats

Mains level: Health threats posed by Trans Fats

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has capped the amount of trans fatty acids (TFA) in oils and fats to 3% for 2021 and 2% by 2022 from the current permissible limit of 5%.

New FSSAI norms

  • FSSAI has acted in response to the amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations.
  • The country’s food regulatory body notified the amendment on December 29, more than a year after it issued a draft on the subject for consultation with stakeholders.
  • The revised regulation applies to edible refined oils, vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, bakery shortenings, and other mediums of cooking such as vegetable fat spreads and mixed fat spreads.
  • It was in 2011 that India first passed a regulation that set a TFA limit of 10% in oils and fats, which was further reduced to 5% in 2015.

What are Trans Fats?

  • Artificial Trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
  • 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.

Why such a regulation?

  • Trans fats are associated with increased risk of heart attacks and death from coronary heart disease.
  • As per the WHO, approximately 5.4 lakh deaths take place each year globally because of intake of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids.
  • The WHO has also called for global elimination of trans fats by 2023.

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