|18 July, 2019

Plan to cut fat and salt in baked items

The Health Ministry aims to gradually reduce salt content in bread

Image used for illustrative purpose. Baked buns are seen seen in trays at a bakery in Mumbai, India, October 31, 2017.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Baked buns are seen seen in trays at a bakery in Mumbai, India, October 31, 2017.

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Discussions on ways to reduce fat and salt content in baked goods are being held as part of a national plan to combat chronic non-communicable diseases.

The Health Ministry aims to gradually reduce salt content in bread down to 0.5 per cent in the next three years, as it is one of the most popular food groups in Bahrain.

It is also working on introducing more regulations to reduce trans fats and preservatives in baked goods, as part of a 2018 decision to promote healthier food production in the country.

The plan for bread, especially those mass produced and distributed to markets, will mean there will be 5gm of salt per kilo yeast in the product, and while the trans fats terms are voluntary the ministry aims to reduce its amounts to 5pc, as well as reduce the percentage of oil to 2pc. This was detailed at a workshop held yesterday for bakery owners at the BCCI, which was the second such meeting this year.

Health Ministry head of nutrition and public health consultant Dr Buthaina Ajnan explained to the GDN that the long-term hope was to fully eliminate trans fats in the next two years for all food, whether locally produced or imported.

“Food producers have mastered ways of putting more salts, sugars and trans fats than they need,” she said.

“This has led to a noticeable increase in non-communicable chronic diseases such as increased blood pressures and renal and heart diseases, which is why we urgently need to take action to control these diseases by controlling the diet risk factors.

“The main challenge for all of these initiatives is the merchants themselves, they have to believe in the benefits of these reductions, they have to have the technology to make the replacements for trans fats and salts which are there and can be cheap.”

She said these changes would not lead to an increase in prices and in fact would reduce the price as less artificial ingredients will be used.

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