NEW DELHI: Only about 3% of the packaged food items in India contained trans-fat exceeding 2%, the limit set for the component by the food safety regulator.
Most of the edibles with over 2% industrially-produced trans-fatty acid content included oils.
The results of the survey by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, in association with the Quality Council of India, are based on an analysis of about 6,200 food items, which included sweets, toppings, and chocolates, fried, composite and frozen food, bakery and confectionery products and oils.
The findings showed that only 3.14% or 196 samples contained trans-fat exceeding 2% and about 90% of the 196 samples that exceeded 2% trans-fat were oils, vanaspati, shortenings, and margarine.
The analysis of 5176 samples collected from the other five categories of food products, on the other hand, showed that nearly 0.4% or 20 samples contained more than 2% trans-fat.
FSSAI has mandated to reduce the limit of industrially-produced trans-fats, to not more than 2% to make the country free from the industrially-produced trans- fats by 2022, a year ahead of the WHO guidelines.
Trans-fat regulation to limit the amount of industrially-produced trans- fats containing trans-fatty acids in food products has been enacted by many countries. These regulations were motivated by numerous studies that pointed to their significant negative health effects.
It is now well-established that trans-fat in the diet is a contributing factor for several diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, and raises bad cholesterol levels and lowers good cholesterol levels in the human body which in turn, increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
As per WHO, increased intake of trans-fat – more than 1% of total energy intake- is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease mortality and events.
Estimates show that its intake is responsible for approximately 500,000 premature deaths from coronary heart disease each year around the world.
The findings of the survey revealed that the food processing industry is positive about FSSAI’s regulation for eliminating the industrially produced trans-fats in foods by 2022, the regulator said in a statement.
“The survey results demolish the perception of excessive usage of industrial trans- fat in processed food products.”