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Regulation on limiting trans-fat formulated

Landmark step to cut heart disease risks

Published : 01 Dec 2021 10:26 PM | Updated : 01 Dec 2021 10:26 PM

Bangladesh Food Safety Authority has adopted the best-practice policy declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in regulating toxic trans-fatty acids in foodstuffs. 

PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB), and Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) have hailed this effort of the government. 

The regulation has been notified in the government gazette on Monday, 29 November 2021. 

PROGGA, the research and advocacy organization, sent a press release in this regard on Wednesday. 

The organization informed that 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.

Founder and President of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, National Prof Brigadier (Retd) Abdul Malik said, “The prevalence of heart diseases among young and middle-aged people has increased in recent days, for which, intake of trans fat-laden food is largely to be blamed. Implementation of the new regulation will drastically reduce the prevalence of heart diseases in the country. I would like to congratulate the government for such a timely endeavor.”

Vandana Shah, Regional Director of South Asia Programs at Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), said, “Bangladesh has joined 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.”

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. 

CAB President Golam Rahman opined that “This regulation will play a pioneering role in safeguarding consumer health.”

NHFB, PROGGA, and CAB with support from GHAI have undertaken a variety of policies and grassroots level initiatives to assist Bangladesh Food Safety Authority in eliminating trans-fat from foodstuffs. 

The Bangladesh Country Lead of GHAI, Muhammad Ruhul Quddus said that, “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.”

Executive Director of PROGGA, ABM Zubair said, “4.41 percent 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.”