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Food industry agrees to cut trans fat

30,January, 2019

World Bank to offer appropriate technology to State government

The food industry, especially the bakers’ association and manufacturers of pickles and condiments, has expressed its willingness to hold hands with the Health Department and the State Food Safety wing, in the latter’s efforts to reduce the high content of trans fatty acids (TFAs), salt and sugar in commercially available foods in the State.

At a meeting called by the Health Department here on Monday, industry stakeholders said they were willing to join the State’s safe food initiative, if the technology to reduce trans fat, sugar and salt content in foods were made available to them.

While the details of the action plan are yet to be finalised, the World Bank has expressed its willingness to transfer alternative technologies to the State.

Bakers’ association representatives said they would move to trans fat-free alternatives in baked goods, if they did not affect the taste and consistency of their products. Pricing of products was another concern.

The top-end bakers had already switched to margarine, which was either low in trans fat or was trans fat-free, in baked goods but this option was unaffordable to most small-scale operators.

Representatives of the pickle and papad manufacturers said the high salt content in these foods was to prevent contamination and enhance shelf life. However, good manufacturing practices and hygiene practices can bring down salt content in pickles by 8-10 %.

Self-regulation now

Commissioner of Food Safety Rathan Kelkar said the State wanted the food industry to self-regulate. Enforcement would only come later.

The Health Department has launched the trans fat-free drive as part of the non communicable diseases (NCD) control project as there is ample evidence now that unhealthy diet is a major factor pushing up metabolic syndrome and premature deaths due to lifestyle diseases among Keralites.

Categories: NEWS
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