Impacts of Trans-fat conveyed to school children by CAG

Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) in collaboration with Citizens Voice Club,Coimbatore(CVC) conducted a campaign to spread awareness about trans fats on 12th November 2019 on the occasion of Children’s Day 2019, at RK Rangammal Kalvi Nilayam HSS School, Coimbatore.

Trans fatty acids or trans-fat is a type of fat that can either occur naturally or can be manufactured during the process of hydrogenation of vegetable oil. Vegetable oils are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated to turn them into solid fat at room temperature. This increases their shelf life, and enhances the taste and texture of processed food items. Hydrogenated vegetable fat is a cheap source of oil/fat for branded and local food manufacturing companies.

Trans-fats can be found in food products such as margarine, fried foods such as chips; chocolates, biscuits and all baked goods. Trans-fats occur naturally in milk, cheese, and certain meats. Artificial trans-fats are known to raise the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood and increase the risk of coronary artery heart disease and stroke.

The FSSAI has proposed to limit the amount of trans fat content in vegetable oils, vegetable fats, and hydrogenated vegetable oil to less than 2 per cent by weight as part of its goal to make India trans-fat free by 2022. CAG’s focus is to support effective implementation of the national trans-fat regulations in the state of Tamil Nadu. To this end, CAG plans to conduct several public events to promote healthy eating habits, and create awareness about the harmful effects of trans-fats.

Dr.K. Tamilselvan, Designated Officer(Food Safety) Coimbatore and Dr. Devaprasath, Pediatric Cardiologist, of Sri Ramakrishna Hospitals gave detailed information about Trans fats, its ill effects, how it affects the healthy food chain and highlighted the necessary measures that have been taken in and around schools in Coimbatore district on healthy diets. CVC & CAG focused to support the effective implementation of national trans-fat regulations in the state of Tamil Nadu through signature campaign. Savitha Thirunavukkarasu, Project Manager & Researcher and Keerthana Thangavel, Researcher from CAG presented on Trans fats in food, explained about the proposed FSSAI regulations and elimination of trans fats in the country.

They presented on how consumers should be aware of consuming trans-fat free foods. C.M. Jeyaraman, President of Citizen’s Voice Club, Coimbatore told about junk and fast food culture, issues of obesity and insisted younger generation to adopt healthy food habits like consuming more seasonal fruits , sprouts, vegetables, drinks like soups, neera etc and food items with very less or no cholesterol. He explained how this kind of adoption to healthy diet will support the development of traditional eateries in the state and mentioned that these kind of positive changes will not deprive business in the existing eateries like small food vendors. The program also focused on Repurposed Cooking Oil (RUCO), its proper usage methods in households and hotels.