Wednesday, February 24, 2010


With increasing realization that trans fats are more dangerous than saturated long chain fats in the every day diet, serious consideration is being given by many countries to put in place a statutory ban on its presence in foods. While consumers can find relief in such measures, how such blanket ban can be enforced, especially in many developing countries where there are weak safety monitoring regimes, is a relevant issue. In India itself there is a ban on use of animal fats in processed foods but no one really knows whether food products are really free from this fat ingredient. Trans fats are artifacts generated during catalytic hydrogenation process for modifying the plasticity of the fat and food industry, especially the bakery and confectionery sectors, is in deep love with hydrogenated fat as its use gives an end product of unparalleled eating quality. Of course there can be alternate technologies available to day for plasticizing fat that include interesterification, fractionation etc and such fats can play the same role as hydrogenated fat.

"The news is based on a series of recommendations from the UK Faculty of Public Health, which is concerned about the potentially harmful effects of the manufactured fats. The chemically modified fats, found in biscuits, margarine and ready meals, have been linked to coronary heart disease and increases in cholesterol. The proposal has been made as part of a series of recommendations designed to improved UK health over the next decade. The call to completely remove trans fats from the British diet echoes bans in Denmark and parts of the US and Canada".

It is time licenses for operation of hydrogenation plants are canceled and the production of hydrogenated fats is completely banned in all the countries, in stead of leaving it to individual countries to do it. Palm oil, mostly originating from Asia is an ideal source from which plastic fats can be made by selective fractionation and the resulting product must be acceptable to the bakery and confectionery industries. The unjustified boycott call of Palm oil and products derived from it by some multinational food processors under the guise of agricultural sustainability must be fought by the Asian countries collectively and palm oil based plastic fats offer the best solution to the problem of trans fats in the diet.


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