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DOH advises food companies to stop using trans fats by June 2023.

Food manufacturers have been urged by the Department of Health to reformulate and eliminate trans fatty acids (TFA) from their goods by June 18, 2023.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, have been one of the main causes of death in the nation, according to Department of Health Undersecretary for Public Health Services Team Beverly Ho in a media session on Wednesday in Quezon City.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that TFA is responsible for around 2.64 percent of fatalities from coronary heart disease or blockage of the heart’s blood supply.

TFA is characterized as synthetic fats produced through hydrogenation, a procedure that stabilizes polyunsaturated oils to keep them fresh and solid at room temperature.

TFA is still present in many baked goods and prepared foods, according to Ho. The DOH issued Administrative Order No. 2021-0039, the national strategy to eliminate industrially produced TFA from our food supply, in July 2021 to address this.

Director of the Food and Drug Administration Pilar Marilyn Pagayunan stated that the agency fully supports the department’s initiative to eliminate TFA manufactured industrially from the food supply in order to prevent and manage NCDs.

The FDA has released FDA Circular No. 2021- 0028 on Guidelines for Prepackaged Processed Food Products because it “recognizes the critical role of food business operators’ compliance in accomplishing the country’s aim of eliminating industrially produced TFA,” she stated.

The circular also provides guidance to food producers during the transition phase, which is anticipated to extend until June 18, 2023.

“Following that, FDA will incorporate the monitoring of TFA in fats, oils, and other processed foods into the annual post marketing surveillance plan for the monitoring of regional field offices inspectorate to check on the sustained compliance of the food business operators to ensure TFA is no longer present in the market’s processed food supply chain, failing which appropriate regulatory action shall be imposed,” she added.

TFA might also be avoided, according to Imagine Law Executive Director Sophia San Luis, a public interest organization, by fostering a culture that encourages Filipinos to make healthy decisions.

“In addition to being the main cause of death in the Philippines, heart disease also worsens Covid-19 results. Eliminating TFA brings us one step closer to creating a resilient and healthy Philippines “She spoke.

According to Pagayunan, all product formulations and labelling for prepackaged processed food containing TFA from industrial production must adhere to the standards outlined in the DOH Administrative Order No. 2021-0039 and the FDA Circular No. 2021-0028.

Concerned food manufacturers’ certificates of product registration may be rejected, suspended, or revoked if they violate any of the terms of the administrative order or the FDA circular.

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