Tuesday May 21, 2024

Youth groups demand regulation of trans-fats in all foods

By Our Correspondent
May 05, 2024
This representational image shows a burger and chips. — Unsplash/File
This representational image shows a burger and chips. — Unsplash/File

Islamabad : As Pakistan finds itself in the middle of 2024, the nation faces yet another missed deadline in the crucial quest to regulate trans-fatty acids (TFAs). This setback serves as a stark wake-up call, emphasising the urgent need for concerted efforts to address this pressing public health issue.

Despite previous commitments and initiatives, Pakistan has fallen short of implementing regulations on trans-fatty acids, posing significant risks to the health and well-being of its citizens. With each missed deadline, the window of opportunity narrows, emphasising the critical importance of immediate action. The Transform Pakistan campaign led by Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA) in partnership with leading public health organisations such as the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), and Heartfile has effectively broadened the dialogue surrounding iTFA awareness, resulting in a noticeable surge in youth actively advocating for the implementation of iTFA regulations. “While raising awareness marks a significant milestone in our campaign, it is imperative that we collectively redouble our efforts towards the campaign’s ultimate goal: the regulation of iTFA in all foods across Pakistan as per WHO recommended standards of less than 2 percent,” emphasized Huma Jehangir, Program Implementation Lead at PYCA.

In response to this urgent call, youth groups across the country have stepped up their efforts to advocate for iTFA regulation. These youth groups are taking proactive steps to amplify their voices and demand swift action from policymakers. Under the banner of the TRANSFORM Pakistan campaign, they’re meeting with officials from provincial food authorities and have launched letter-writing campaigns. They’re also requesting the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), the Prime Minister’s Office, and the federal and provincial health ministers to expedite the process of iTFA regulation.

Haiqa Noor, a youth leader from the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore shared, “The youth are exposed to various forms of toxins in the food that we consume on a daily basis. It is imperative that we collectively raise our voices to work towards securing our future. A youth group from Khawaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology (KFUEIT) Rahim Yar Khan has partnered with prominent schools and colleges to establish trans-fat-free learning environments for students.

Tayyaba Khalid, a prominent youth leader at KFUEIT, emphasized the significance of garnering support from multiple institutions and advocating for safer environments for young minds. She stated, ‘It is crucial that numerous institutes endorse this campaign and commit to fostering safer environments for our youth. In our efforts to garner attention from local government entities, we are collaborating closely with these leading schools and colleges.’

As Pakistan grapples with the persistent challenge of trans-fatty acids, now is the time that the government takes decisive action. The youth are and will always be at the forefront of this movement, advocating tirelessly for regulations that prioritise the health and well-being of all Pakistanis.