The Manager of Laboratory Services at the Institute of Applied Sciences ( IAS) Mr Usaia Dolodolotawake attended ‘The Pacific Workshops on Nutrition, NCD’s and the role of Codex’ held in Nadi from the 20th to the 22nd of April, 2015. He was invited to be a temporary advisor as well as presenting a paper titled “Trans Fat in the Fijian Food Supply – Options for Elimination/Minimization from the Food Supply”. In there, findings and key recommendations from work done by IAS for WHO; “Transfer content of some Fijian Foods” were presented.
The paper briefly described what trans fats are, what their dietary sources are and how industrial trans fat are formed. The link between Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) specifically coronary diseases and trans fat was also discussed. Using the latest Fijian Food consumption data, it was noted that vegetable oils are the major source of dietary trans fat in the Fijian population. Data obtained also showed that ready to eat foods (fast foods) were high in trans fat.
The paper recommended consumer education on the ills of trans fat be undertaken as well as consumers minimizing their use of vegetable oils in cooking. Other cooking methods such as boiling, roasting and ‘lovo’ were recommended.
In one of the sessions, the work of the IAS laboratory, specifically the Food Unit was discussed. The participants were pleased to note that the lab is ISO certified and was also involved in the compilation of the Pacific Islands food composition table as well as played a major role that led to the banning of turkey tails import into Samoa.
The IAS presentation was well received and a lot of interest was shown in trans fat analysis as WHO intends to make this a compulsory item in the nutrition information panel.