Ensuring food safety
The use of Trans-Fatty Acid (TFA) in manufacturing/ processing of food products has been witnessing an upswing. Manufacturers of oil, bakery, namkeen and sweets have been using the TFA without sticking to the permissible limits.
Though this issue has come-up for discussion many times but no action has been taken against those who are violating it or are using to increased use of TFA.
Pertinently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has restricted the permissible amount of industrial Trans-Fatty Acid (TFA) content in food products to two per cent and Food Business Operators have to comply with the said regulation.
Trans-Fats are associated with increased risk of heart attacks as well as death from coronary heart disease. In 2018, WHO called for elimination of industrially-produced trans-fat from the food supply chain by the end of 2023. Trans-fats are largely present in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats/oils, vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings and can also be found in baked and fried foods.
Though the divisional administration has stressed on setting up a long term mechanism for monitoring the quality of meat, milk and other eatables (including fast foods) to ensure that the best food is provided to citizens.
The officers of the Food and Drug Control Department were directed to conduct drives to check the quality of milk frequently and investigate samples collected on a routine basis. Though some action is being initiated by the officials of the department but given the violations and increased use of TFA, the issue needs much more strict dealing.
The food business operators need to be involved and a comprehensive awareness campaign needs to be started so that these manufacturers comply with Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure use of quality and safe edible oil besides upgrading their in-house testing facilities to meet the quality parameters mandated under Food laws.
Notably, various government schemes are being offered by various departments wherein 100% subsidy is forwarded for up gradation and setting up of food laboratories in various food manufacturing units.
However, the manufacturing units are missing out on those schemes as the awareness among the manufacturers has not been made available so that they could have availed these schemes.
Secondly, the issue of using more than permissible TFA is of utmost importance as public health is involved as many youngsters and other people are in the habit of consuming food items prepared at various food units.