New Delhi: Vanaspati manufacturers are meeting shortly to chalk out a strategy following the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report, which claimed that most cooking oils and vanaspati brands are unfit for consumption due to high trans-fatty acid contents.
Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (VMA), members of which include multinationals like Bunge, has called a meeting on 11 February to discuss the issue in detail, sources said.
Industry body Indian Vanaspati Producers Association (IVPA) will also discuss the issue shortly, the sources added.
However, both the associations declined to comment officially, saying that the matter is serious.
The study released by the CSE tested 30 available brands in the market. The tests recorded that trans-fatty acid content in all vanaspati brands were five to 12 times higher than the prescribed trans-fat standard for edible oil set in Denmark at 2% of the total oil.
The lowest amount of the content was found in desi ghee and Amul butter at 5.3% and 3.7%, respectively, while Mustard oil brands indicated trans-fat content within 1%.
Trans-fatty acids are said to increase heart risks as they reduce the content of good cholesterol and increase the risk of infertility in women, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Reacting to the report, a leading vanaspati manufacturer said there was no maximum limit fixed for trans-fat as of now.
The Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) regulator is working out the maximum limit and the industry has assured the government that it would reduce the trans-fat levels gradually, he said.
Industry sources said vanaspati consumption is not much, compared to other cooking oils. Total domestic production of vanaspati is about 10 lakh tonnes a year, they said.
“Vanaspati is used in households only during festival seasons, while it is mostly used in restaurants,” an industry official said.