Stakeholders for effective rules on trans-fatty acids in foods

ISLAMABAD   -   Stakeholders of the Transform Pakistan campaign have urged Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) to take decisive steps towards regulating industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFAs) to less than 2 per cent in all types of foods in Pakistan, without any further delay.

The is campaign managed by civil society organisations, Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA), Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), Heartfile, UNICEF, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) and many others.

Currently, Pakistan is categorised as partially meeting the criteria set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding trans-fat regulation and is placed in the less restrictive category. However, the country still falls short of WHO recommended best practices policy. To fully meet these standards for best practice policy, it is imperative that all foods should be covered through a single regulation, with mandatory limits of no more than 2 percent of iTFAs of the total fats, they said.

In his remarks, Areebah Shahid, Executive Director at PYCA, emphasised the importance of this comprehensive approach, stating that it is imperative that we take decisive action to protect the well-being of our citizens. “By regulating trans-fatty acids in all foods, we can significantly reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases and improve public health outcomes.”

Executive Director of CPDI Mukhtar Ahmed said, “Regulating trans-fatty acids is a public health imperative. It is the responsibility of the government to prioritize the health of its citizens by ensuring that all foods meet established safety standards.”

Dr Saba Amjad, CEO of Heartfile, emphasised the urgency of the matter, stating, “Trans-fatty acids pose a serious risk to cardiovascular health and contribute to a range of non-communicable diseases. By implementing comprehensive regulations, we can protect the health of future generations and create a healthier Pakistan.”

The campaign, while appreciating the current progress, urged PSQCA to ensure that all foods items are brought under a single regulation without any further delay. Every single passing day means more people are prone to diseases and more deaths. In order to ensure that the people of Pakistan are safe from the hazards of iTFAs, potential delays must be prevented in adopting the best practice policy.

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