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Dhaka Tribune

Experts: Trans fat-free food to reduce risk of heart diseases

  • Heart diseases cause 5,000 deaths yearly
  • 43 countries implemented best-practice policies for tackling trans fat in food
  • Bangladesh still lagging
Update : 16 Oct 2023, 04:24 PM

Public health experts at a webinar on Monday said excessive amount of trans fat in food is one of the leading causes of heart diseases in Bangladesh.

Stating that trans fat-induced heart diseases cause an estimated 500,000 deaths every year around the world, they also said Bangladesh is witnessing an increased number of deaths from trans fat-related various non-communicable diseases, especially, heart diseases.

Research and advocacy organization PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) with support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) arranged the webinar titled “Trans-fat in Food, Heart Disease Risk and Way Forward”, on the occasion of World Food Day 2023.

Monzur Morshed Ahmed, Member (Public Health and Nutrition), Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) said trans fat-free food can reduce the risk of heart diseases.

“We’re currently making progress in phases towards the implementation of trans fatty acid regulation. Although the companies have claimed to face certain technical limitations in terms of adopting the regulation, we are optimistic about commencing its implementation soon,” he said.

Dr Abu Jamil Faisel, president-elect, public health association of Bangladesh said: “Excessive amount of trans fat in food is linked to not only heart disease but also with various types of cancers. It is important to establish close collaboration with relevant traders to accelerate the implementation of this regulation.”

Although “Controlling Trans-Fatty Acid in Foodstuffs Regulation 2021” has been passed to ensure trans-fat-free food, he said it has not come into effect yet.

According to a WHO report on Global Trans fat Elimination 2022, 43 countries including India have implemented best-practice policies for tackling trans fat in food. However, Bangladesh is still lagging behind in this issue.

The main source of trans fat is Partially Hydrogenated Oil (PHO), which is also known as Dalda or Banaspati Ghee. Generally, PHO or dalda is used in preparing baked foods, processed foods, and fried snacks, as well as in food preparation by restaurants and street food vendors.

The speakers opined that speedy implementation of the regulation is essential to safeguard public health.

SM Nazer Hossain, vice president pf the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Bangladesh Country Lead of GHAI, and ABM Zubair, executive director of PROGGA also spoke at the programme.

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