Consumer rights activists at a discussion yesterday urged the government to limit the use of trans fat in all foods to maximum of two percent, and maintain the standard strictly as the substance is injurious for health.
They also detailed a nine-point demand, including ban on hydrogenated oil -- the major sources of trans fat, and formulation of a policy in this regard.
Industrially-produced trans-fatty acid, also known as trans fat, causes severe health risks -- such as increasing risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, several foods in the country contain an excessive amount of the fat and there is no policy to control it, they said.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB) and Progotir Jonno Gyan (PROGGA), in association with Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), organised the discussion on the health risks of trans fat at Cirdap auditorium in the capital.
Speaking as chief guest, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said the government is working on regulating the use of trans fats and planning to formulate a policy in this regard.
He also assured the government will try to execute the nine-point demand within a short time, as it is in the interest of public health.
"In order to regulate trans fat, we will also reform and update age-old acts if necessary," he added.
CAB President Ghulam Rahman said World Health Organisation (WHO), considering public health issues, recommended all countries to achieve the target of limiting trans fat use at two percent by 2023.
"Bangladesh government needs to give more focus on the topic, and collaborate with NGOs and consumer rights activists to meet the target," he said.
NHFB Founder and President Prof Brig (retd) Abdul Malik said trans fat in foods must be eliminated in order to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases -- such as stroke, heart diseases and cancers -- in the country.
Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) Director General Muazzem Hossain, GHAI Country Coordinator Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, CAB General Secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan and PROGGA Executive Director ABM Zubair also spoke at the programme, among others.