The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will soon come out with a regulation to reduce trans-fat content in food products having fats or oils to 2% by 2022, its CEO Arun Singhal said on Wednesday. Currently, the FSSAI limits trans-fat content in fats and oils to 5%t. The notification to further reduce to 3% by 2021 and 2% by 2022 is still in the process.
“Food safety is one aspect, but eating healthy and sustainable food is a priority. We are coming out with regulations to decrease trans-fat in foods and oils to 2% by 2022,” Singhal said.
He was speaking at a virtual event organised by industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the 4th anniversary of the CII-HUL Initiative on Food Safety Sciences (CHIFSS).
Asserting that trans-fat is a “serious issue”, he said the industry should come forward for collaboration with the FSSAI to find ways to bring down the trans-fat content in foods and oils.
Currently, bakeries, sweet shops and other food business operators can voluntarily display ‘trans-fat-free’ logos on food products and in their outlets.
Speaking on the occasion, FSSAI Chairperson Rita Teaotia lauded food businesses for being responsive in these times of extraordinary public health emergency due to Covid-19.
“We have supported food businesses by bringing guidelines that need to be adopted by food businesses to mitigate risk of the current pandemic,” she noted.
On the food safety risk management, the FSSAI Chairperson said ‘caution’ needs to be exercised while deciding a food safety risk management system for India.
“In many developed countries, every aspect of production, processing, distribution and retailing, street vending and consumption of food systems can be and is comprehensively regulated. Therefore, designing a food safety out there is simpler, and all the stakeholders find it feasible to implement. In a nation like ours, where size, volumes and diversity of stakeholders are enormous, we need to contextualise the food safety risk management design,” she noted.
In this regard, FSSAI’s initiatives are the beginning and need to be taken seriously by all the stakeholders, she added.
Teaotia further said the food safety risk management has become important as “managing and maintaining food systems have become very formidable and complex tasks” amid growing demand for healthy food, increasing population, man-made climate change, urbanisation and depleting natural resources and even the current Covid-19 pandemic.
These challenges offer opportunities to shape future food systems and, therefore, ensure food security and food safety, she said. He added that food safety is a shared responsibility across the stakeholders, and the value of the food safety risk management cannot be understated in a resilient food system for present or future.
Generally, the food safety risk management outlines a process and provides an implementation plan for evaluating various food safety and security control opportunities in consultation with stakeholders and then provide practical and implementable regulatory standards, she added.