HYDERABAD: The state food department is to issue guidelines on the use of trans fats, salt and sugar in commercially available foods, which could cause cardiovascular diseases.
Mr T. Vijaya Kumar, Telangana state’s deputy food controller (enforcement), explained, “Trans fats are preferred by street vendors and food manufacturing units as they can be preserved for a longer period of time. They are an easy substitute for pure ghee and other non-hydrogenated fats. They are cheap, easily available and give food the shape and texture that is appealing. Commercial establishments thus prefer using trans fats. We want them to realise that use of trans fats is harmful for their customers. With increasing awareness, the choice exercised by customers with regard to food is very calculated. Hence, industry has to change.” As per the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India guidelines, a shift to alternatives like non-hydrogenated oils and pure ghee is essential. World Health Organisation recommends that intake of trans fats must be limited to less than 1 per cent of total energy intake. TFAs (trans fat acids) must be totally eliminated from the global food supply by 2023. The target set by India in this regard is 2022. During this time, FSSAI proposes that use of trans fats in foods be limited to 2 per cent. Presently, trans fats found in commercially available registered food brands are around 5 per cent. Their content in non-registered brands is much higher, up to 15 per cent. The food department wants to first create awareness among such commercial manufacturing units.