A programme on trans fat in foods and heart disease risks in the city on Thursday demanded that excessive levels of trans fat in foods in Bangladesh be regulated to ensure health safety.
The demand was made in a nine-point charter of consumer demands placed at the discussion titled, ‘Trans Fat in Foods, Heart Disease Risks and Necessary Actions: Consumer’s Perspective’, at the Cirdap auditorium.
Consumer’s Association of Bangladesh (CAB), National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB) and PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) jointly organised the programme in association with Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun who spoke at the function as the chief guest said his ministry will take steps within soon for eliminating trans fat from foods.
The nine-point charter includes determining the maximum permissible level of trans-fat in all food products to 2 percent, banning production, import, marketing and use of dalda/bonospoti which is the prime source of trans fat, amending the ‘Packaged Food Labeling Regulations, 2017’, directing producers to notify with specific logo for trans fat-free (2pc) food, eliminating the scope of deceiving them with false declarations about trans fat on the packaging of food products, strictly monitoring advertisements and promotions, installing advanced laboratory/equipment and recruiting people to measure the level of trans fats in foods, carrying out regular surveillance tests to monitor the trans-fat levels in food products and making the results available on website.
Capacity building of officials concerned and motivating them for effective implementation of trans fat regulations and creating awareness among consumers about the health risks of trans fats through mass publicity are also among the demands.
In his speech, Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said, “The nine-point charter of consumer demands will be implemented within a short period for safeguarding the public health.”
He also said the age-old acts will be amended and updated if necessary to regulate the trans fat.
Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Public Health Specialist and Country Coordinator of GHAI, said if trans fat is not eliminated, countries that import goods from Bangladesh will stop buying those.
Monzur Morshed Ahmed, member of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), said the authorities have decided to fix the permissible limit for trans fats at 2 percent.
A technical committee has already commenced their activity for this purpose, he said.
National Professor Brigadier (retd) Abdul Malik, Founder and President of the NHFB, said trans fat in foods must be eliminated to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases.
The government and the consumer associations need to work together to meet the target set by the World Health Organization (WHO) of eliminating trans fat by 2023, said CAB President Ghulam Rahman.
The key speakers of the programme were Prof Dr Sohel Reza Choudhury, Epidemiology and Research Department of NHFB; Md Hasan Shahriar, director and head of program, PROGGA; and Ahmed Ekramullah, program coordinator, CAB.
Md Muazzem Hossain, director general of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI); Dr Habibur Rahman, Line Director NCDC at the Directorate General of Health Services; Advocate Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan, CAB general secretary; and ABM Zubair, executive director of PROGGA, were, among others, present.