80% of Food Products Have Mandatory Labels

80% of Food Products Have Mandatory Labels80% of Food Products Have Mandatory Labels

The ‘traffic light’ tags will be put on all food products by the end of the administration’s first term in summer, said Rasoul Dinarvand, head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The labels are part of the drive to implement the National Document for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) that was introduced in October 2015, he said.

“The labels have information indicating how much fat, salt, sugar and trans-fatty acids (TFAs) a food product contains, and 80% of the products have the tags,” he said, IRNA reported.

In order to achieve the document’s goals by the end of 2025, TFAs should be completely eliminated from the domestic food supply chain. According to the FDA, in 2005 the average amount of TFAs in edible liquid oils was 25%. It was brought down to 5% in 2014 and further decreased to 2% by the end of last year in March.

In August last year, it was made mandatory for all domestic food manufacturers to use food labels with nutritional facts. Also, measures to raise awareness about the importance of paying attention to the food labels have been going on through publicity campaigns.

Stating that the worst dietary habit of Iranians is consuming excess salt, sugar and oil, he said, import of products with trans-fatty acids into the country have been banned by the FDA. TFAs are unsaturated fatty acid of a type occurring in margarines and manufactured cooking oils as a result of the hydrogenation process.

On average, each Iranian consumes more than 19 kg of oil annually and improving edible oil standards can help improve people’s health.

Pointing to the negative effects of palm oil on people’s health, Dinarvand said this year, tax on palm oil imports was increased by 16%. Use of palm oil in dairy products was banned in 2014.

  Salt Intake High

High salt intake poses serious risk to people’s health. Many countries are taking measures to reduce the intake of dietary salt to 5 grams per day, and some others to 3 grams per day. Per capita salt consumption is 12 grams in Iran.

Traditional breads also contain high amounts of salt. An ultimatum was issued last fall to all bakeries to reduce the amount of salt in all types of traditional  bread. After the measure, the salt amount in breads has been reduced from the previous 2.3% to 1%. However, 60% of the problem is related to excessive salt consumed in home-cooked foods; therefore people’s cooperation is essential to address the problem.  The FDA has plans to further reduce salt intake by 30% over a five-year period.


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