Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan formally launched FSSAI’s “Trans Fat Free” logo at the 8th International Chefs Conference organised in Aero City, New Delhi on 4 October 2019. Also present at the event were members of the food sector fraternity including the scientific community, industry and industry associations, medical and nutrition experts as well as renowned Chefs from across the globe highlighting the need to eliminate trans fats from the food supply.
The movement against Trans Fats is an important step to accelerate the ‘Eat Right India’ movement which is led by FSSAI, under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Industrial trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, and to increase the shelf life of foods. Trans fats are largely present in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats/oils, vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings, and can be found in baked and fried foods. Globally, industrial trans fats intake leads to more than
5400,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease every year and in India the figure reaches to 60,000 in number.
In his speech, Dr. Harsh Vardhan described trans fats as the worst type of fats with known health risks. India is committed to eliminate trans fats from the food supply and is progressing towards its objective of eliminating it by 2022; a year ahead of the global target by WHO. He congratulated FSSAIfor its efforts in collectivizing various stakeholders to work cohesively and take the ‘Eat Right India’ movement forward. FSSAI is committed to reducing the industrially produced trans fatty acids to less than 2% by the year 2022 in a phased manner. It has also created the motto ‘[email protected]; Freedom from Trans Fats’ to encourage elimination of trans fats. Accordingly, food establishments can use the “Trans fats free” logo in their outlets and on their food products if the fats/ oils they use does not have industrial trans-fat which is more than 0.2g/100g of food, in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations. The use of the said logo is voluntary.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also released a slogan ‘Chefs 4 Trans Fat Free’, under which more than 1,000 chefs from different parts of the country took a pledge to use trans fats free oils/fats in their recipes and work towards its elimination from diets of Indian populace at large. Dr Harsh Vardhan also felicitated several bakeries who use trans fats free fat/oils in their products or who commit to do so in the near future.Dr Harsh Vardhan mentioned that “Chefs are a very important part of our food ecosystem and with increase in eating-out pattern with and growing complexities in life, chefs carry an additional responsibility of ensuring that the food served is not just safe and tasty but also healthier and sustainable to the environment”.Shri Pawan Agarwal, CEO FSSAI expressed his hope that the Chefs community can help India achieve elimination of trans fats from foods by 2022.
During the event, sessions were also held on FSSAI’s Hygiene Rating and ‘Right Place to Eat Scheme’ which is an online, transparent scoring and rating system that aims to empower consumers with informed food choices while eating out. Chefs were encouraged to adopt this scheme pan India and to proudly showcase that they are a ‘Right Place to Eat’. Another session on the need for reducing sodium/salt content from Indian diets was also organised. High consumption of salt leads to high blood pressure, which causes heart attacks and strokes.
One in six deaths in India is due to high intake of salt. The World Health Organization recommends salt intake of less than 5 grams per day (~2100 mg of sodium) for adults, while an average Indians consume more than two times (approx.11g/day) the recommended daily amount of salt (5 g/day). Chefs were encouraged to prepare recipes with less salt as it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke even among those who do not have high blood pressure.
As part of the Eat Right Movement the FSSAI has previously launched campaigns like ‘Aaj se Thoda Kam’ featuring National award-winning actor Shri Raj Kumar Rao to nudge consumers on limiting the consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Additionally, FSSAI had also launched “Heart Attack Rewind”, campaign to educate consumers on the harmful effects of trans fat and reduce its acceptability in foods. More recently, the Ace cricketer and caption of Indian Cricket team Shri Virat Kohli has joined the ‘Eat Right India’ movement to give a message to his fans with a nation-wide campaign ‘Eat Right Stay Fit, Tabhi India Super Hit.’