New Delhi: Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the “Trans Fat Free” logo of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), at the 8th International Chefs’ Conference (ICC VII), here today. This marked an important milestone in the movement against Trans-Fats and also provided a momentum to accelerate the ‘Eat Right India’ movement of FSSAI.
At the event, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that: “The ‘Eat Right India’ movement of FSSAI takes inspiration from the vision of the Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modji ji of giving to the people of this country a ‘New India’ by 2022 that includes health, social security and nutrition. The Prime Minister has also acknowledged the ‘Eat Right Movement’ of FSSAI in his “Mann ki Baat” address”. He further stated that health does not merely mean absence of disease and infirmity but its definition also includes the presence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness, and food plays a vital role in all these components. Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the primacy given to nutrition and healthy eating practices by the Government forms the pivot of the Poshan Maah, which was observed in September, where many ministries and stakeholders joined hands for enhancing awareness about issues surrounding nutrition.
The Union Health Minister said that “Trans fats are the worst type of fats with known health risks. India is committed to eliminating it from the food supply and is progressing towards its objective of trans fat elimination by 2022; a year ahead of the global target by WHO. As part of our collective vision, FSSAI is committed to reducing the industrially produced trans fatty acids to less than 2% by the year 2022 in a phased manner and is geared up to get freedom from trans fats with the motto ‘India@75; Freedom from Trans Fats’. It is encouraging to see chefs from across the country coming forward to support FSSAI in this cause and working towards a healthier India”.
Dr Harsh Vardhan appreciated the bakeries for voluntarily adopting healthier cooking practices to eliminate trans fats. He further stated that it is a national and social responsibility for all of us, and especially for the chefs as they carry an additional responsibility of ensuring that the food served is not just safe and tasty, but also healthy. He congratulated FSSAI for its efforts in mobilizing various stakeholders to work cohesively and take the ‘Eat Right India’ movement forward.
At the event, Dr Harsh Vardhan released a slogan ‘Chefs 4 Trans Fat Free’, under which more than 1,000 chefs from different parts of the country took a pledge to use trans-fat free oils in their recipes and work towards their elimination from the diets of Indian populace at large. The Union Health Minister also released a trans-fat free brochure, trans-fat free manifesto for chefs, and distributed pins to five chefs as an acknowledgement for them adopting trans-fat free recipes. He also felicitated ten bakeries who are using trans-fat free oils in their products and those that committed to use trans-fat free oils in the future.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also launched the Green Purple initiative logo. The initiative aims to qualify the chefs on food safety legal requirements and sustainable cooking methods, in order to promote trans-fat free cooking. It will be a six months program that includes key areas of trans-fat free cooking, using less sodium, and hygienic, seasonal, eco-friendly, less energy consuming cooking methods. The chefs shall thereafter ensure global standards of food safety and sustainable environment practices.
Industrial trans-fats are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, and to increase the shelf life of foods. Trans-fats are largely present in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats/oils, vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings, and can be found in baked and fried foods.
The food establishments which use trans-fat free oil and do not have industrial trans-fat more than 0.2g/100g of food, in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018 can display “Trans-fat free” logo at their outlets and on their food products. The use of the said logo is voluntary.
Thanking the food industry for their proactive support in taking forward the ‘Eat Right India’ movement, Shri Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI said that “FSSAI is committed to reducing the industrially produced trans fatty acids to less than 2% by the year 2022 in a phased manner. I am hopeful that the Chef community will work with us in achieving this goal.”
During the event, sessions were also held on FSSAI’s Hygiene Rating and Right Place to Eat Scheme which is an online, transparent scoring and rating system that aims to empower consumers with informed food choices while eating out. Chefs were encouraged to adopt this scheme across the country to showcase that they are the ‘Right Place to Eat’. Another session focused on the need for reducing sodium/salt content from Indian diets. Chefs were encouraged to prepare recipes with less salt as it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke even among those who do not have high blood pressure.
Also present at the event were members of the food sector fraternity including the scientific community, industry and industry associations, medical and nutrition experts as well as renowned chefs from across the globe highlighting the need to eliminate trans fats from the food supply.