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Tuesday May 28, 2024

CPDI calls for limiting iTFAs consumption through diet

By Our Correspondent
May 10, 2024
This image shows the logo of the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI). — APP/File
This image shows the logo of the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI). — APP/File

LAHORE: The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) with the support of partners Thursday organised a provincial consultation aimed at tackling the health risks linked to the consumption of industrially produced trans fatty acids (iTFAs) in Pakistan.

The participants highlighted the urgent need for mandatory regulation to safeguard public health and mitigate the detrimental effects of excessive iTFAs consumption through diet. Dr. Anjum Jalal, Executive Director of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, said with every passing day, people are dying with cardiovascular diseases due to high consumption of iTFAs in the diet. He stressed the urgency for Pakistan to adopt mandatory policies aimed at limiting trans fats to less than 2% in all foods.

Munawar Hussain, Consultant at Global Health Advocacy Incubator, highlighted that evidence from several countries who passed the mandatory iTFA limits reflects significant reduction in the disease burden. He emphasized that limiting iTFAs in all foods will ultimately save precious lives from diseases, disabilities, and deaths. The policy will bring economic gains for Pakistan as well, in terms of reduction in the hospital expenditures and more productive human resources.

Dr Saba Amjad, CEO of Heartfile, shared iTFA consumption trends in Pakistan and said though there is some progress made in Pakistan, research shows that iTFAs is widely found in various food items. This underscores the need for adopting best practice policy to set no more than 2 percent limits of iTFAs of total fats in all foods without any exception.

While moderating the session, Syed Raza Ali, Project Manager, CPDI explained that Pakistan ranked 2nd highest in the WHO-EMRO region in iTFA consumption followed by Egypt. This alarming statistic correlates with a surge in multiple Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), imposing significant economic burdens on both individuals and the nation as a whole. Despite some measures taken last year, Pakistan still falls in the less restrictive category on the WHO TFA country scorecard.

Prof Imran Pasha, Director General National Institute of Food Sciences and Technology and Ms Farah Athar from Punjab Food Authority also highlighted the need for adopting best practice policy as per WHO recommendations by setting national iTFA limits of no more than 2 percent in all foods without any further delay.

While concluding the session, Dr. Anjum Jalal said Pakistan needs to immediately adopt mandatory limits of industrial trans fatty acids of no more than 2 percent, covering all foods, without further delay.