No Trans Fats in Cooking Oils by 2025

Last year, all domestic edible oil manufactures were directed to reduce trans fat in their products to below 2%.
Last year, all domestic edible oil manufactures were directed to reduce trans fat in their products to below 2%.

New technology is now being used to convert edible liquid oils to solid and semi-solid oils. The latest technology unlike the process of hydrogenation doesn’t produce any trans fats which are harmful to health, in solid and semi-solid oils, said Rasoul Dinarvand, head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Hydrogenation, complete or partial, is a chemical process in which hydrogen is added to liquid oils to turn them into a solid form. Partially hydrogenated fat molecules have trans fats, and they may be the worst type of fat one can consume.

Manufacturers use this process as it increases the shelf life and improves the texture of the food product to which the oil is added. Trans fat may make food taste good and last longer but its consumption can increase people’s risks of heart diseases.

“Trans fats, also called trans-fatty acids, are artery-clogging,” Dinarvand said on Friday, IRNA reported.

Trans fats raise bad cholesterol, increase inflammation and lower the good cholesterol that protect people against heart diseases.

The National Document in Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) envisages reducing trans fat in cooking oil and other food products to zero by 2025.

A year ago, all domestic edible oil manufactures were directed to reduce trans fat in their products to below 2% from the existing amount of more than 5%. “At present, the amount of trans fats in solid and semi-solid cooking oils is the same as in liquid oils,” he said.

Pointing to advertisements of ‘healthy solid oils,’ he said although the current solid oils contain the same amount of trans fats as liquid oils, still no advertiser is permitted to claim they are ‘healthy’. Only after the amount of trans fats is reduced to zero, such a claim can be made.

“However, they are not harmful to health and can be thus referred,” he noted, pointing to the bill passed in May 2016 by Majlis by which  advertisement by the mass media of products harmful to people’s health was banned, including products high in trans fats, salt and sugar.

“At present, the maximum amount of trans fat which can be used in all kinds of cooking oils is 2%. Soon the amount will be decreased to less than 1% in all food products,” he said.

The FDA also monitor’s the amount of trans fats in other food products like chocolates.

A global study of 80,000 women found that a 2% increase in trans fat consumption increased a woman’s risk of heart disease by 93%.

According to figures released this year (ends March 20) by the Agriculture Ministry, the per capita oil consumption in the country is between 18-19 kg, while the average global figure is 12 kg.

 Reducing NCD Deaths

Premature deaths from non communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country are high, prompting health officials to devise healthy diet plans to check the high mortality rate.

The Health Ministry is studying the situation to classify the categories and causes of NCDs so as to set priorities in funding to help curb the high death rate, Dinarvand said.

The move is in line with the targets set by the World Health Organization as well as the national document on NCDs which aim to address the key risk factors and reduce mortality in the 30-70 years age group within a 10-year period (2015-2025).

One of the main targets of the national document is to reduce deaths caused by cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disorders by 25%.

Improving physical exercise, reducing salt consumption and smoking by 30%, high blood pressure by 25% as well as controlling obesity and diabetes are among other objectives.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints