Publish: 2 years ago
The government has finalized a draft of policy styled ‘Safe Food (Trans fatty acid) Bill, 2021’ to regulate the use of industrially-produced trans fats in food items.
The draft was finalized at a meeting of the Technical Committee on Trans Fats held on January 25.
Health experts said industrially-produced trans fat, known as dalda or bonospoti ghee in local markets, is a silent killer as the high level of trans fat in these foods increases bad cholesterol (LDL) and reduces good cholesterol (HDL) in the human body.
In its report titled “WHO Report on Global Trans Fat Elimination 2020” published on September 9, 2020, the World Health Organization said 15 countries, including Bangladesh, account for approximately two-thirds of the worldwide deaths linked to trans fat intake.
A study of the National Heart Foundation and Research Institute has found that about 92 per cent of sampled PHO (including partially-hydrogenated oils- popularly known as Dalda) brands in Dhaka city were containing trans-fatty acid (TFA) at a much higher level than the 2 per cent one set by WHO.
The WHO report of 2020 has stated that owing to trans fatty acid consumption, 5,776 people die from heart diseases each year in Bangladesh.
“Our work has been going on in full swing to make a policy to regulate the use of trans fats. We have already finalized a draft of the policy,” Md. Abdul Kayowm Sarker, Chairman of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) told the Daily Sun on Wednesday.
“We will soon start collecting opinions on the draft policy.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a global target of eliminating industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply chain by 2023. Member countries have to lower the limit of trans fat in foods to two per cent by the stipulated time.
Monzur Morshed Ahmed, chief of the Technical Committee on Trans Fats and a member of the BFSA, said, “We hope we can formulate the policy by the deadline set by the WHO.”
Talking to the Daily Sun, former Additional Health Secretary and Bangladesh Country Lead of Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) Muhammad Ruhul Quddus said “Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) should finalise the draft on limiting the trans fat in foods and PHO and to implement it immediately in a bid to save people’s lives.”
“It is very encouraging to know that our neighbouring country India (The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) already has already put in place a regulation on limiting trans fat in foods. We would be happy if the BFSA takes the necessary steps for adopting a regulation to this end immediately,” said Prof Sohel Reza Choudhury, head of Department of Epidemiology and Research of National Heart Foundation Hospital & Research Institute (NHFHRI).