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FSSAI amends regulations on edible trans fats limits; cuts from 10 to 5%

6,September, 2015

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has brought amendments to regulations regarding edible trans fats limits.
Now the authority has recommended the limits to be reduced from 10 to 5 per cent by weight. The newer standards are expected to come into effect by August 2016.
In this regard, FSSAI issued a notification earlier in December 2014 asking for objections and has now come up with draft amendments related to regulations 2.2 in FSS Act with regards to fats, oils and fat
The draft says that the maximum limit of trans fatty acids shall not be more than 5% by weight for interesterified vegetable fat, fat spreads, relating to bakery and industrial margarine and hydrogenated vegetable oils among others.
The decision meanwhile is being seen as a continuation of Delhi High Court order asking FSSAI to regulate the food high on fat, sodium and sugar which is generally called as junk food.
CSE, in 2009, did a study on 30 brands of cooking oils and found trans fats in all vanaspati (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils) brands to be 5-12 times higher than the standard of Denmark—two per cent of the total fat content. The study intensified the debate on need for trans fat standards. In 2013, after having proposed a draft in 2010, the authority came up with a relaxed limit of 10 per cent.
“India has a huge and growing number of people suffering from noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Consumption of junk foods is also rising across all sections of society and age-groups. It is no longer limited to urban areas. Keeping this in view, the new regulation is an important milestone in containing the burden of noncommunicable disease,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director-general, CSE.
Trans fats are formed on hydrogenation of vegetable oils to make them into vanaspati. Globally, consumption of trans fats through cooking medium or ultra-processed junk foods is strongly linked with noncommunicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been advising countries to limit its consumption. In a similar attempt, the US in June 2015 recognised the use of partially hydrogenated oils as unsafe and banned its use by food product manufacturers within three years, according to him.

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