Shared by Dushyant Krishnan (founder-foodnetindia)
With so much research and proof that trans-fat is a hazardous ingredient, still many food manufacturers and fast food chains have only reduced it or substituted it with similar fatty acids.So why are trans-fats still lurking in many foods even now?
What is the source of Trans-fat?
There are two sources of Trans-fat, also known as trans-fatty acids:
Naturally formed trans-fat – This trans-fat is produced in the gut of grazing animals like cows, buffalos. Some quantity of trans-fat can be found in animal products like meat, milk, and milk products. There is evidence to show that natural translate are not harmful.
Trans fat formed during processing – This trans-fat is formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil (a process called hydrogenation) to make it more solid. This type of trans-fat is also called partially hydrogenated oils which are used by food manufacturers to improve the texture, shelf life, and flavour stability of foods.
Hidden transfat in almost all food
The United States has banned trans-fat, we need to follow this path as well, because the consumption of artificial trans-fat is strongly correlated to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It could also be a cause of several other conditions including cancer.
Trans-fats are partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and they are present in almost mass consumed food like biscuits, cakes, chips and vanaspati (dalda) ghee. Apart from these food all street vendors use vanaspati to make the food look rich and taste good and even fine
dining restaurants use dalda regularly to improve flavour and taste.
Indian Food Regulators tightening grip on trans-fat
Food manufacturers are aware that consumers are more concerned about dangerous ingredients like trans-fat in food and so are they deliberately labelling their food products as trans-fat free?
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) a Delhi based food watchdog which has a food lab has gone into these claims. They found the claims of Haldiram Aloo Bhujia and Top Ramen instant noodles to be trans-fat free as false.
As per FSSAI rules, a product can claim to be trans fats free if it contains less than 0.2 gm of trans fats per serving. As per the CSE study, a packet of Top Ramen instant noodles has 0.6 gm of trans-fats; 100 gm of Haldiram Aloo Bhujia has 2.5 gm of trans-fats. Though Haldiram claims its serving size is 10 gm, it is nothing but a gimmick. Consumption habit of people exceed this serving size and they end up consuming more trans-fats.
Many brands put misleading information about their trans-fats content on the label. Products like Lay’s American Style Cream & Onion claim that they have “zero” trans-fats in 100 grams of their products. However, CSE study found 0.9 gm trans-fats in 100 gm of the product. Similarly brands like Haldiram Aloo Bhujia, Bingo Oye Pudina chips, Top Ramen noodles claim they have “zero trans fats” per 100 gm of product. But CSE results show otherwise.
We at foodnetindia are of the opinion that trans-fats should be banned immediately in India since it is harming the health of millions of Indians and food manufacturers should stop adding trans fats in food to increase sales and profits at the expense of people’s health.
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About the Author
Dushyant Krishnan– A lawyer and a food lover who wanted to spread awareness about the various food safety concerns that exist in India. He decided to do something about this by creating a platform for people to learn about food safety and related law.