A report released by the World Health Organization last year confirmed that more than 60,000 Indians die each year, the highest in the world, due to unnecessary overexposure to the toxic chemical, trans fat.

Trans fat is an industrially produced harmful chemical which is found in partially hydrogenated oils mostly used in vanaspati ghee and other baked, fried and packaged foods. Trans fat consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, the biggest cause of death around the world.

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In 2010 alone more than 60,000 deaths were attributable to high trans fat intake in India. Following the WHO report, Disha Foundation called on the Indian government to reduce trans fats to 2% in all foods, and eliminate trans fats from Indian foods by 2023.

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In an interview to the Economic Times, Dr. Anjali Borhade, President of Disha Foundation said:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India must act now to limit trans fat to 2% of total fat in all foods.

According to The Print, the center is now planning to roll out regulations for limiting trans fatty acids (TFA) in food items by this month.

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According to the American Heart Association (AHA), trans fats raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels. They also lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels. High LDL along with low HDL levels can cause cholesterol to build up in blood vessels, increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.

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India’s apex food regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will mandatorily limit trans fats content in food items and oils to 3% by 2021 and 2% by 2022, against the present limit of 5%. FSSAI CEO, Arun Singhal told The Print:

We are working on the final regulations which are likely to be released by this month. The objective is to decrease trans fat content in foods and oils to 2% by 2022, which is one year earlier than the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) target.

In September last year, the FSSAI had proposed a draft regulation to limit trans fats in food products through an amendment in the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations. While limiting trans fat content has been voluntary till now, the new regulations will make the requirement mandatory for food business operators.