India’s food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to bring down the level of trans-fat to 5 per cent lesser than the current permitted level in edible oils. The reduction of trans-fat comes from World Health Organization (WHO) which has asked the world to become trans-fat free by the year 2023.
Trans fat, mainly the artificial trans fat, that is consumed unknowingly, is sourced from the cooking oil that is used to prepare them. Artificial trans fat raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol and is estimated to kill 5, 40,000 people a year around the world and 60,000 in India.
“The FSSAI has selected to implement this move in India by 2022 as that is the 75th year of our independence. On trans-fat reduction, India has also taken up a strategy,” said Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI
“In fact, we have coined a slogan – India at 75, freedom from trans-fat. So we have aimed at achieving the objective a year before WHO. And we are conducting studies into the subject whether the 5 per cent limit can be reduced further in edible oil,” he added.
The study was to see whether making trans-fat go further down in oils was risky or not.
“There was a proposal for further reduction in trans-fat beyond 5 per cent. We are in talks with the edible oil manufacturers, vegetable oil industry and health experts. We are bringing scientific and medical opinion as well, and if the evidence says that there is no need to further reduce the level, we will not push the industry,” he said.
Addressing the issue of re-heating the oil, he added, “FSSAI has already put together standards on total particulate matter, which is at 25 in case of pre-heated oil. Once that comes into force from July 1, coupled with proper enforcement, the problem of reheating of oil will also get addressed.”