The baker’s association and manufacturers of pickles and condiments, have expressed their willingness to join the campaign with the Health Department and the State Food Safety wing, in order to reduce the high content of trans fatty acids, salt and sugar in commercially available foods in the State.
The Health Department in Kerala has launched the trans-fat-free drive as part of the non-communicable diseases control project. It has been observed that there is ample evidence now that unhealthy diet is a major factor pushing up metabolic syndrome and premature deaths due to lifestyle diseases among Keralites.
At a meeting was called by the Health Department with the industry stakeholders at Thiruvananthapuram. In that meeting stakeholders said that they are willing to join the State’s safe food initiative, if the technology to reduce trans-fat, sugar and salt content in foods were made available to them.
Responding to their demands, the World Bank has expressed its willingness to transfer alternative technologies to the State.
The Bakers’ association representatives said, “We will move to trans-fat-free alternatives in baked goods, if they do not affect the taste and consistency of their products.”
Whereas they also expressed their concern over high-pricing of end products. The established bakers had already switched to margarine, which was either low in trans-fat or was trans-fat-free, in baked goods but this option was unaffordable to most small-scale operators.
Representatives of the pickle and papad manufacturers said, “The high salt content in these foods was to prevent contamination and enhance shelf life. However, good manufacturing practices and hygiene practices can bring down salt content in pickles by 8-10 percent.”
Food Safety Commissioner, Rathan Kelkar said that the State wanted the food industry to self-regulate. Enforcement would only come later.