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WHO underlines need to strengthen trans fat regulations in India

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World Health Organisation confirms that more than 60,000 Indians die each year due to unnecessary overexposure to trans fat

Disha Foundation called on the Indian government to reduce trans fat to 2 per cent in all foods, and eliminate trans fat from Indian foods by 2023, as a newly released report by the World Health Organisation confirms that more than 60,000 Indians die each year, the highest in the world, due to unnecessary overexposure to the toxic chemical, trans fat.

“The WHO report underscores the need for immediate action to eliminate industrially produced trans fat from our food supply. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India must act now to limit trans fat to 2 per cent of total fat in all foods,” said Dr Anjali Borhade, President, Disha Foundation

“Momentum is growing for the global elimination of industrially-produced trans fat, with nearly one third of the world’s population in 28 countries now protected from its harms. But more than two-thirds of the world’s population lacks protection from industrial trans-fat in their food. WHO stands ready to support elimination efforts in the remaining countries. We welcome industry commitments to reformulate and remove trans fat from their products.”said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO.

“Industrially produced trans fat can easily be replaced with healthier alternatives, and six countries restricted use of the toxic chemical in 2018, while another 25 (including the European Union) adopted policies that will come into effect over the next two years,” added Dr Eram Rao, Associate Professor, Delhi University.

India is progressively reducing permissible trans fat, as opposed to completely banning it, WHO said in its report. India is considering lowering its 5 per cent trans-fat limit to 2 per cent by 2022, but this limit only applies to fats and oils – not foods.

“Mandatory labelling of TFA content in foods is needed for elimination of industrially produced trans fats from the food supply in the country.” said Dr T Longvah, Director Grade Scientist, The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).

WHO released a set of modules to help countries implement REPLACE, the action package launched a year ago to eliminate industrially produced trans fat from the food supply by 2023. Regulatory actions are key to achieving this goal.

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