Industrial Trans Fatty Acids and Regulations in India

Birendra Kumar Paliwal & Meher Wan


Medical experts are concerned with the death of young people due to cardiac arrest in India. Many of these deaths are being linked to the consumption of industrial or artificial Trans Fatty Acids. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that more than 5 lakh deaths occur every year globally due to intake of artificial Trans Fatty Acids.

Recently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) declared the capping of trans fatty acids up to 3% by 2021 and 2% by 2022 in edible oils and fats through Food and Safety Standards Regulations (Prohibitions and Restriction on Sales). The WHO has also pledged to eliminate the Trans Fatty Acids from our food by 2023.

Trans Fatty acids, commonly called trans fats, are the worst types of fats from the human health perspective which raise our ‘bad’ blood cholesterol (i.e. Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL) and lower our ‘good’ blood cholesterol (i.e. High-Density Lipoprotein or HDL). High artificial Trans Fats diets increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart attack. 

The Trans Fats are formed during the industrial process in which hydrogen is added to vegetable oils. This process makes the oil solid at room temperature. The hydrogenation process makes the vegetable oil partially hydrogenated too. The partial hydrogenation process of vegetable oils is industrially very useful because the food made with this oil has relatively much longer shelf life. The partially hydrogenated oil is commonly used in deep frying because it does not need to be changed as often as other oils. The Trans Fatty Acids also occur in a few meats and dairy products naturally in a very small amount but it is not yet clear whether naturally occurring Trans Fats are beneficial or harmful to human more