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Trans-fat alarm on World Food Day

Published : 15 Oct 2020 09:07 PM | Updated : 16 Oct 2020 01:32 AM

Public health organisations have called upon the people to be aware of the trans-fat in food which can increase the risk of heart diseases and deaths.

PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) on Thursday ahead of the World Food Day on Friday said policies must be placed fixing the maximum limit of trans-fat to 2 percent of total fat in all oils, fats, and foods.

The theme of the Day is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future”.

Industrially produced trans-fat in food is one of the major causes for increased risks of heart diseases.

Globally, 250,000 people die of heart diseases due to consumption of trans-fat containing food.

The fact of much greater concern is that Bangladesh ranks among the 15 countries with the highest burden of deaths from trans-fat induced heart diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Industrially produced trans-fat in food primarily comes from Partially Hydrogenated Oil or PHO, which is familiar as dalda or bonospoti in Bangladesh. PHO or dalda is commonly used in preparing fried snacks, baked goods, as well as food preparation by restaurants and street food vendors.

In a recent study, the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute has found 92 per cent of sampled PHOs from Dhaka city to contain trans-fat levels above the 2 percent limit set by the WHO.

The sampled PHOs even showed a staggering high concentration of TFA, 20.9g per 100 grams, which is more than 10 times the WHO-set threshold. Bangladesh is yet to introduce any law or regulation to protect the public health from the harms of TFA. However, very recently the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) has decided to promulgate regulations limiting TFA to 2% of the total fat contents of all fats, oils, and foods. In addition, the committee has already prepared a position paper to regulate TFA.

Executive Director of PROGGA ABM Zubair commented that: “Trans fat causes 4.41% of all the deaths from cardiovascular diseases in Bangladesh, according to WHO. Hundreds of thousands of lives can be saved through mandatory trans fat restrictions. So, we must enact necessary policies without further delay.”

In order to ensure safe and trans fat free food, PROGGA urges to speedily enact and implement policies following WHO guidelines of limiting trans fat to 2% of total fat in all fats, oils, and foods.