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From Denmark to Delhi: the multisectoral challenge of regulating trans fats in India

  • Shauna M Downs (a1), Anne Marie Thow (a1), Suparna Ghosh-Jerath (a2), Justin McNab (a1), K Srinath Reddy (a3) and Stephen R Leeder (a1)...

Abstract

Objective

India has proposed legislating an upper limit of trans fat in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and mandating trans fat labelling in an effort to reduce intakes. The objective of the present study was to examine the complexities of regulating trans fat in India by examining the policy processes involved and the perceived implementation challenges.

Design

Semi-structured interviews (n 18) were conducted with key informants from various sectors. Interviewees were asked about sources of trans fat in the food supply, existing policies that may influence trans fats and perceived challenges related to the proposed trans fat regulation, in addition to questions tailored to their area of expertise. Interview data were organised based on common themes.

Setting

Interviews were conducted in India.

Subjects

Interviewees were key informants from various sectors including agriculture, trade, industry and health.

Results

Several themes were identified related to the complexity of regulating trans fat in India. A lack of trans fat awareness, the large unorganised retail sector, a need for suitable alternative products that are both acceptable to consumers and affordable, and a need to build capacity were crucial factors affecting India's ability to successfully regulate trans fat. The limited number of food inspectors will create an additional challenge in terms of enforcement of trans fat regulation.

Conclusions

Although India will face challenges in regulating trans fat, legislating an upper limit of trans fat in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils will likely be the most effective approach to reducing it in the food supply. Ongoing engagement with industry, agriculture, trade and processing sectors will prove essential in terms of product reformulation.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email Shauna.downs@sydney.edu.au

References

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