POST TIME: 14 February, 2020 12:16:34 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 February, 2020 12:05:35 PM
Experts seek ban on high trans-fat oils
“Vegetable oils such as Dalda, “Vegetable oils such as Dalda, Vanaspati pose risk of cardiac disease, diabetes”

Experts seek ban on high trans-fat oils

Public health experts have sought a ban on trans-fat added vegetable oils like Dalda and Vanaspati considering the high risk of cardiac disease from consuming these. High amounts of trans-fat are present in Dalda (a brand of hydrogenated vegetable oil) and Vanaspati (a kind of vegetable origin oil that contains hydrogenated and hardened fat), which pose serious threat of cardiac disease and blood pressure rise as well as the risk of type-2 diabetes, experts said at a discussion on impact of trans-fat held in the capital yesterday.

Speakers at the programme demanded that the authorities concerned ensure presence of a maximum of 2 percent of trans-fat in food items in order to reduce the risk of death from cardiac diseases.

The WHO has fixed the quantity of trans-fat in safe food at 2 percent for production and marketing of food items, the experts said. Necessary law and policy should be formulated to control the use and production of trans-fat, they opined.

Thailand, Singapore, America and Canada have banned production of Dalda and Vanaspati, which contain huge amounts of trans-fat, considering them harmful to public health, they said.

Experts said at least 30 percent of the deaths in the country are due to non-communicable diseases like cardiac disease, and trans-fat is one of the key factors contributing to these deaths.

The Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) and National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh jointly organized a discussion on ‘Impact of trans-fat in Bangladesh, global situation and role of prevention’ at the city’s CIRDAP auditorium yesterday.  Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun was present as chief guest while CAB President Gulam Rahman chaired the discussion.

In his speech as the chief guest, the industries minister said the government will make

amendments to the old laws to make them time befitting in a view to prevent trans-fat added food to control risk of cardiac disease.  Foods items that are being produced ignoring guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be banned in the interest of the people, he added.

“The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) has already started their activities to control the impact of trans-fat added food items. It would be mandatory to mention the trans-fat quantity on the labels of food items,” the minister said.

The ministry is well aware of harmful food items that cause threat to public health, Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said adding that the BSTI’s monitoring system will be strengthened further to check unsafe and low quality food items in the country.

Experts said, not only in Bangladesh, the death rate has been increasing globally due to the intake of trans-fat added foods. About 1.79 crore people die across the world annually due to consumption of trans-fat added foods and associated cardiac diseases. Of them, five lakh die in Bangladesh due to cardiac diseases, according to studies. The WHO has declared such human created situation a global epidemic.

Three essays were presented at the programme regarding harmful impact of trans-fat added food items. Professor Dr Sohel Reza Chowdhury of National Heart Foundation, Director of PROGGA and chief programmer Hasan Shahriar and Programme Co-ordinator of CAB Ahmad Ekramullah presented the essays.

Among others, founder of National Heart Foundation and National Professor Brig (Retd) Abdul Malik, BSTI Director General Md Muazzem Hossain, Bangladesh Safe Food Authority’s Acting Chairman Mahabub Kabir and public health specialist Muhammed Ruhul Kaddus spoke at the discussion.