FSSAI directions regarding permitted use of trans-fat in food products 

FSSAI directions regarding permitted use of trans-fat in food products 

FSSAI directions regarding permitted use of trans-fat in food products 

In a recent notification, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has amended rules with an objective to cap trans-fatty acids (TFAs) in food products, just weeks after it tightened the norms for oils and fats, which shall be effective from Jan1,2022. It was in 2011 that India first passed a regulation that set a TFA limit of 10% in oils and fats, which was further reduced to 5% in 2015.

The notification provides for the following –

1. Such food products comprising edible oils and fats as an ingredient shall not contain industrial trans-fatty acids above a total percentage of 2% by mass of the total oils/fats used in the food commodities to be affected from January 2022.

2. India aims to strongly implement the overall cap of 2% on food products and achieve the target by the year 2022 cap is to be considered to be the eradication of trans-fatty acids, which India plans to achieve next year.

3. Prior to this, the FSSAI had plugged the levels TFAs in oils and fats to 3% by 2021 in December 2020, and 2% by 2022 from the current levels of 5%.

FSSAI and its role in food safety and standardization in India-

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare established the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Food Safety & Standards Act 2006 and rules in the year 2008 with an objective to lay down logical standards for ensuring the quality and safety of food articles and to provide a structure for their storage, manufacture, distribution, sale and import and their timely availability.

Apart from above all, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the authority that oversees the monitoring of compliances and licensing by businesses who are dealing in manufacturing, distributing, or offering for sale of the same. For which, the organization has been bestowed with powers to formulate the measures in order to eliminate the toxic and hazardous elements of the environment. 

As part of the FSSAI regulations, every food manufacturing entity needs to inform about the quantitative and nutritional value of the food products and informs the customer about the safety standards at the same time.

FSSAI has laid down separate standards for each commodity concerned to ensure their strict compliances as per their standards. This is necessary to ensure that such measures are implemented in a way to assure public health and safety for the Food Business Organizations or the FBOs and keep the consumers safe from malpractices like fraud, adulteration, and false misleading claims. 

Objectives of FSSAI role in food quality

The FSSAI makes it mandatory for the FBOs to firstly obtain a food business license for their proposed business and further to comply with the terms and conditions that come as a part and parcel of the license, failing which such license could be revoked/canceled and such business operator could be liable to civil action. If any consumer finds anything false, misleading, or any defect or deficiency in articles of food products, he has the right to make a complaint to the FSSAI authority.

Apart from the above-mentioned, the following are the objectives behind the establishment of FSSAI Authority- 

i.    To frame regulations, laying down standards and guidelines in relation to food articles, and set up an appropriate system of enforcing various standards.

ii.    To lay down mechanisms and guidelines for the accreditation of certification bodies functioning in the certification of food safety management system for food businesses. 

iii.    To lay down procedures and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.

iv.    To provide scientific advisory and related assistance to the Central Government and State Government in matters related to policy-framing and appropriate rules in subjects having a direct/indirect effect on food safety and nutrition and its related impact on the health.

v.    To compile data regarding food consumption, incidence, and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various contaminants in food products, an indication to risk factors, and providing a rapid alert system.

vi.    To create an information network chain across the nation for spreading awareness and timely information so that they receive rapid, reliable, and objective information about food safety and related issues.

vii.    To initiate and further handle such training programs for individuals or businesses who are interested to operate a food or related business. 

viii.    To contribute to the growth and development of international technical standards and promoting general awareness of the same. 

What are Trans-Fats? Why does their use in food products need to be capped?

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), the use of trans-fatty acids is on an ever-increasing level on a global level and is being primarily responsible for about 5.4 lakh deaths per year globally because of their intake in the form of various food products. They are present in baked, fried, pre-packaged snacks, cooking oils, and processed foods as well as adulterated ghee which becomes solid at room temperature.

But why is their use so common? It is due to the reason that they are formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, increases the shelf life of food items, and for use as an adulterant as they are cheap. And, they cost lesser than the original animal fats such as butter or ghee.

According to the WHO, trans-fatty acids are responsible for encouraging bad cholesterol in the body and decreasing good cholesterol which ultimately clogs arteries in the body and causes life-taking diseases like hypertension, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Therefore, it’s high time to reduce the use of trans-fatty acids and fully eliminate them from common life so that they could no longer do any harm to mankind. As part of the initiative, the WHO has called for the abolition of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply by the year 2023.


The latest FSSAI notification providing for directions regulating the oils and TFA is being received positively and welcomed by various consumers as well as consumer welfare groups. As these rules signal the completion of the process of regulating trans-fats in India, this move will make a big difference to the health harm caused by this unwanted ingredient. Such change in regulations will allow the FSSAI and the State-level food safety machinery to further strengthen their capacity as a regulator and enforcement of the regulations. 

Thus, these recent regulations limiting trans- fats to below 2% will have a far-fetching impact to rise India a global and regional leader on the food safety regulations, and eliminating such harmful ingredient from India's food supply is a step in the right direction towards creating safer and healthier food systems.


eStartIndia Team

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