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Trans Fat Surveillance: Capacity Building Workshop Held for FSO Punjab

A capacity building workshop for Punjab's FSOs' on Trans fat regulation was held

A capacity building workshop of District Level Designated Officers and Food Safety Officers(FSOs’) on Trans fat Surveillance was jointly organized by the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health(DCM & SPH), PGIMER, Chandigarh; Strategic Institute for Public Health Education and Research(SIPHER), Chandigarh and Department of Food and Drug Administration, Punjab at the State FDA Lab, Civil Hospital Kharar. On the occasion the report of first phase of hypertension project being implemented by PGIMER with state of Punjab was also released. The meeting was attended by 62 officers from different districts of Punjab.

The workshop also saw the launch of trans fat surveillance in the state wherein each Food Safety Officer (FSO) shall collect few samples from their jurisdiction and send them to state laboratory for analysis of trans-fat in them.

Sh. Kumar Rahul, Commissioner FDA, Punjab said, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Govt. of Punjab and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the eve of World Food Safety Day, 2021 to strengthen the implementation of transfat regulation in the state of Punjab. This is the first of its kind initiative where any state government has collaborated with the premier medical institute of the country for jointly working on trans-fat related activities. The tie-up is aimed to achieve the objective of ‘Tandrust (Healthy) Punjab’.

 Dr. Sonu Goel, Professor, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh and Principal Investigator of this project said , “Excessive use of trans fats in the state of Punjab is one of the leading risk factors of non-communicable diseases, specifically hypertension in the state. This workshop was very timely and need-based and would help to achieve the 2% target of trans fat regulation in Punjab, which will give Punjab a lead over many states of India as far as trans fat regulation is concerned.” He also proposed a workshop with the Food Business Operators so as to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

Dr Poonam Khanna, Associate Professor at the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh said that PGIMER will be the training partner to facilitate the capacity building and trans fat surveillance in the state of Punjab. She also put forward the proposal to support the NABL accreditation of the state lab. Dr. Rakesh Gupta, President SIPHER appreciated the joint efforts of government of Punjab and PGIMER and said that SIPHER will provide technical support in the mapping and listing of industries involved in the manufacturing of hydrogenated processed oils.

Mr. Manoj Khosla, Joint Commissioner, FDA, Punjab, appreciated the PGIMER team for taking this initiative to further the trans fat regulation in the state of Punjab. He presented the strategic plan of action for trans fat regulation and deliberations were held regarding the proposed action plan. A documentary on the ‘Trans fat-free Diwali’ campaign launched by the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh in the month of November 2020 was showcased during the workshop. The campaign was supported by popular celebrities and sportspersons, and one of them was Late. Sh. Milkha Singh.

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