Trans fat use in food restricted

02 December 2021

Staff Reporter :
Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) has finalized the regulation on limiting trans fat aiming to meet the target of fixing the maximum level of trans fat to two pc of the total fat in all oils, fats and foodstuffs by December 31, 2022.
In 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) set the target of eliminating industrially-produced trans-fat from the global food supply chain by 2023 and the policy is aimed at meeting the target of fixing the maximum level of trans fat to two pc of the total fat in all oils, fats and foodstuffs by 31 December 2022.
The notification of the policy adoption appeared in the government gazette on 29 November, read a press release.
PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB), and Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) have hailled this effort of the government.  Around half a million people die of  trans fat-induced heart diseases globally each year. The "Limiting Trans Fatty Acids in Foodstuffs Regulations, 2021" will ensure safe food and at the same time play a pivotal role in preventing non communicable diseases.
Industrially produced Trans Fatty Acid (TFA) or trans-fat is a toxic food element. Excessive intake of trans fat causes increased risks of heart diseases, deaths owing to heart diseases, dementia, and cognitive impairment.
 The prime source of trans fat in food is partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), popularly known in the country as dalda or bonospoti-ghee. PHO or dalda is generally used in bakery items, processed and deep-fried snacks, as well as in the preparation of foods by hotels, restaurants and street food vendors.
CAB President Golam Rahman opined "This regulation will play a pioneering role in safeguarding consumer health."
Vandana Shah, regional director of South Asia Programs at Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), said, "Bangladesh joins a growing number of countries, including India, Brazil and Turkey, that are taking steps to follow the WHO's call to eliminate industrially produced trans fat from their food supply by 2023. I applaud BFSA's leadership and initiative in making Bangladesh TFA-free.  This policy will contribute significantly towards reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases and will motivate other countries in the region to take similar action."
Founder and President of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, National Professor Brigadier (Retd) Abdul Malik said, "Implementation of the new regulation will drastically reduce the prevalence of heart diseases in the country."
The Bangladesh Country Lead of Ghai, Muhammad Ruhul Quddus said, "Ensuring trans-fat free food will help reduce medical costs, and at the same time increase the demand of our food products in the international market."
A 2019 study revealed that the level of trans fat (trans fatty acid) in 92pc of samples of leading Partially-Hydrogenated Oils (PHO) brands of Dhaka city surpasses the WHO threshold of 2pc.
According to the WHO, Bangladesh ranks among the 15 countries with the highest burden of death owing to trans-fat-induced heart diseases.
Executive Director of Progga, ABM Zubair said, "4.41pc of deaths from heart diseases in Bangladesh are attributable to trans-fat intake. This regulation will surely contribute to achieving SDG goal 3.4 of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by one-third within 2030."

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