Around 277,000 people die annually due to heart disease caused by industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA) in food in Bangladesh, reveals a study.
Besides, industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA) also kill over half a million people across the globe every year, the study also revealed.
The study report was presented at a discussion titled "Presence of trans-fat in food, risk to heart disease and way forward: consumers perspective" jointly organised by Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) and Progga at CIRDAP auditorium in the city on Thursday.
General Secretary of CAB Advocate Humayum Kabir Bhuiyan delivered the address of welcome while Prof Sohel Reza Chowdhury of National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute presented a keynote paper.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mamun Humayun was present as the chief guest.
Quoting an account of the World Health Organisation (WHO), participants in the discussion said heart-related diseases and deaths are rapidly increasing due to consumption of trans fatty acids that has already appeared as 'pandemic' in the world.
If the present rate of death continues, it will not be possible to cut the rate of death due to non-communicable disease to one third by 2030 as per the target of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
They suggested that there is no alternative but to eliminate trans- fat in food for the sake of human benefits.
There are two sources of trans-fat or trans fatty acid in food. One is natural source that exists in goat and cow meat, milk and butter where there is a little presence of trans-fat.
One the other hand, Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHO) like soyabean and palm get condensed due to mixing of oil hydrogen and thus produce trans-fat. The PHO oils like banaspati ghee and dalda are the main sources of trans-fat.
The industries minister said if necessary, the government will amend the law after reviewing the years old ones to prevent heart disease caused by trans-fat in food.
He added the government will curb food production without following the WHO guidelines.
He said the authorities of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution have started work to check the adverse impact of trans-fat on food.
Mr Humayun said percentage of trans-fat in the food items must be mentioned on the labels.
He also said the Ministry of Industries is conscious about the foods that are risky for human health.
Monitoring of BSTI against unsafe and sub-standard foods will be strengthened.
President of CAB Golam Rahman and its programme coordinator Ahamd Ekramullah, member of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Manjur Morshed Ahmed, among others, were present.
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