In a first, Kerala has formulated a draft action plan against trans-fat. Trans-fat are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. It is used to increase the shelf life of foods. The WHO estimates that consumption of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVOs) high in trans-fat leads to more than 5lakh deaths annually due to cardiovascular disease.
Kerala’s action plan against trans-fat envisages a) massive awareness campaign on harmful effects on trans-fat and high fat, sugar, salt (HFSS) foods, b) identify supply and monitor retail sale of PHVOs, c) provide scientific sessions and training to food business operators on using TFA free alternatives, d) monitor and test food samples to keep use of trans-fat at check.
Kerala’s initiative has been supported by Vital Strategies-a global public health organization, the nutrition wing of the World Bank, WHO, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
FSSAI- the regulatory body for food safety and quality in India-had launched “Heart Attack Rewind”, a mass media campaign. It calls for eliminating industrially-produced trans-fat in the food supply. The FSSAI has set a target of less than 2% TFA content by 2022 in India.
In 2018, WHO had launched REPLACE- a comprehensive plan to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fat from the global food supply by 2023