Category Archives: TFA News

TFA News


Dissemination of Heartfile’s Research “Assessment of Transfats in Pakistan’s Food Chain”

Heartfile, a leading health think tank NGO, organized a dissemination event on 20th March 2024, at the Ramada Hotel in Islamabad to present the findings of their collaborative research project titled “Assessment of Transfats in Pakistan’s Food Chain,” conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Health. The study focused on evaluating the contents of trans fat – a diet-based risk factor associated with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the industrially produced fat and oil products as well as potential trans rich foods.
Prominent figures from various sectors, including government representatives and health experts from across Pakistan, gathered to participate in this significant event.
Dr. Khawaja Masuood Ahmed, National Coordinator Nutrition MONHSRC, provided a comprehensive overview of the study’s rationale and detailed the collaborative efforts between the Ministry, WHO, and Heartfile in developing the REPLACE package. Dr. Ahmed also highlighted the challenges faced in reducing trans fats in food products to 2%, citing limited testing capacity as a significant hurdle. Additionally, he emphasized the impact of sugar as a dietary risk factor and noted the effectiveness of increased sugar taxes in reducing product sales. Dr. Ahmed mentioned the readiness of the National Action Plan for dietary risk factors for dissemination.
Mr. Omer Mukhtar Tarar from PCSIR shared key findings from the research titled “Assessment of Trans Fats in Pakistan’s Food Chain,” contributing valuable insights to the discussion.
During the session, prominent figures in trans fat control and public health advocacy suggested incorporating samples from utility store products in future research and advocated for broader outreach efforts to promote healthier alternatives during Ramadan. Collaboration for effective policy enforcement and behavior change was stressed, highlighting challenges such as limited testing labs for trans fats and the importance of maintaining testing validity while controlling costs. Proactive measures were shared regarding testing food products, and a coordinated advocacy approach on social media was recommended for impactful campaigns. Comprehensive regulation of all fat types and the adoption of WHO standards for trans fatty acids in all foods was agreed amongst all stakeholders. Additionally, a rapid and cost-effective method for measuring trans fats using FTIR spectroscopy was introduced, showcasing its accessibility and potential impact across different regions. It was discussed that its feasibility in Pakistan needs to be explored further.
Dr. Saba Amjad concluded the session by expressing gratitude for the collaboration.
The insights and recommendations shared during this gathering are expected to pave the way for informed policy decisions and collaborative efforts towards promoting healthier dietary practices in Pakistan.

Meeting of Technical Advocacy and Advisory Group (TAAG)

19 January 2024. The TFA Technical Advocacy and Advisory Group (TAAG) meeting for the first quarter of 2024 was held at the Nutrition Division of National Institute of Health. The main aim of the meeting was to assess feedback on the Trans-fat chemical analysis report and the policy dossier proposing a 2% limit on iTFAs in all foods, and to discuss the way forward in terms of regulatory actions, advocacy strategies, and capacity building initiatives related to iTFA elimination. Additionally, the meeting focused on strategizing regulatory frameworks, advocating for policy changes, and planning advocacy activities such as webinars and workshops to raise awareness and garner support for iTFA limits in all food categories.

TFA Technical Advocacy and Advisory Group (TAAG) Meeting

06, October 2023. The TFA Technical Advocacy and Advisory Group (TAAG) meeting for quarter 4 of the current year was successfully held at the Heartfile office. The aim of the meeting was to acknowledge the progress made in establishing a policy for industrially produced trans fatty acids (iTFA) in Pakistan, while recognizing that the current policy is less restrictive. Participants aimed to strive for the Best Practice Policy Option, agreeing to approach the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) to either form a new committee or explore alternative regulatory pathways to adopt best practice policy standards.

TFA Advisory Group Quarterly Review Meeting

25th July 2023. The 3rd Quarterly meeting of tha TFA Advisory Group was successfully held at Heartfile office and on Microsoft Teams. The main aim of the meeting was to address several crucial agenda items related to iTFA elimination advocacy and strategy. These included providing an update on the progress of meeting minutes with the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), discussing timelines and protocols for sample collection, deliberating on election manifesto text to advocate for iTFA elimination, planning social media content for an advocacy burst, and brainstorming strategies to counter industry interference aimed at weakening iTFA standards. The meeting also focused on coordinating efforts among stakeholders, finalizing plans for sample collection, refining social media content, and taking proactive measures to ensure the integrity of iTFA standards amidst potential industry lobbying.

Trans Fatty Acids Technical and Advisory Group Quarterly Review Meeting

10th March 2023: We are pleased to share that the TFA Advisory Group Quarterly Review Meeting for quarter 1  of the current year was successfully held at the Heartfile office. The gathering took place on. The core committee TFA Advisory Group attended the meeting to discuss key matters pertaining to Trans Fatty Acids elimination in Pakistan. The meeting focused on reviewing the progress made during the previous quarter, assessing the strategies, and identifying areas for improvement to achieve our collective objective of eliminating iTFA from the Pakistan food chain.

Trans Fatty Acids Technical and Advisory Group Quarterly Review Meeting

23rd of May 2023: We are pleased to share that the TFA Advisory Group Quarterly Review Meeting for the second quarter of the current year was successfully held at the Heartfile office. This important gathering took place on the The core committee of the TFA Advisory Group came together to address critical matters concerning the elimination of Trans Fatty Acids (TFA) in Pakistan.

The primary objective of the meeting was to discuss the draft report of the recently completed chemical analyses of iTFA content in food samples. These analyses were conducted with the support of Heartfile by PCSIR, which has recently been upgraded for this purpose. The findings presented in the report played a significant role in shaping our strategies and advocacy efforts and actions needed toward eradicating industrially produced Trans Fatty Acids from the food chain in Pakistan.

We remain committed to our collective aim of eliminating Trans Fatty Acids from the food chain in Pakistan by 2023, and the discussions during the meeting served as a crucial step in achieving this goal. 

A Cost-effectiveness analysis for the elimination of industrially produced Trans Fatty Acids

23rd May 2023: Heartfile, a renowned research institution committed to improving healthcare systems, is pleased to announce the publication of its comprehensive cost-effectiveness analysis for the elimination of industrially produced Trans Fatty Acids from the Pakistan food chain. The study sheds light on the economic implications and benefits of ITFA elimination efforts, providing valuable insights for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and stakeholders.  It underscores the importance of sustained investment in ITFA elimination programs to achieve significant health and economic benefits. 

The analysis employed a rigorous methodology, incorporating extensive data collection, modeling, and statistical analysis, and assessed the cost of implementing the interventions against the potential health benefits and monetary savings resulting from reduced disease burden and associated healthcare costs.

The study, titled “Heartfile Cost Effectiveness Analysis for ITFA Elimination in Pakistan,” is available for public access and can be accessed through Heartfile’s official website at

Final Concurrence on National Action Plan on Trans fat Elimination in Pakistan.

In continuation of the ITFA elimination efforts in Pakistan, Heartfile on 24th August 2022 co-hosted a meeting with the Nutrition wing of the Ministry of Health and WHO CO. The meeting was well attended by relevant stakeholders including representatives from the Provincial food authorities, PCSIR and other development partners. The participants were briefed by Dr Khawaja, the National Coordinator – Nutrition & National Fortification Alliance of

Ministry of National Health Services, R&C on the progress of NAP-TFA citing that all the inputs received previously from the stakeholders on the document have been incorporated. The ministry informed that the iTFA NAP has been added into  the NCDs dietary Risk Factors NAP and that the document is validated by all stakeholders and is currently in the publication phase.  Dr Khawaja also shared the reasons for the delay in generating the iTFA fresh evidence and informed us that the PCSIR lab is being supported for upgradation before data is collected. Mr Ammar Rashid disseminated the findings of the iTFA replacement Cost Effectiveness Study carried out by Heartfile and solicited inputs from all the stakeholders. Afterwards, two short, animated videos developed by Heartfile for public awareness and advocacy on the dangers of iTFAs were also showcased. The animated videos are accessible at

The Battle For Healthy Food

3 January 2021: Heartfile published an op-ed entitled “Society: The Battle For Healthy Food. The article discusses the evolution of quality standards in general and that of food standards in particular in Pakistan. It sheds light on the key challenges and barriers to successful implementation. It also discusses the ongoing tug of war between regulators and industry and how the industry is able to influence the regulators and what actions are needed to avoid such pitfalls. The public health angle of unhealthy foods also received due discourse in this article.

Striving for a trans-fat free Pakistan

22 December 2020: Heartfile published an op-ed in the Dawn newspaper entitled “Striving for a trans-fat free Pakistan”.
In the backdrop of dietary risk factors emerging from the high prevalence of  iTFAs in Pakistan’s food value chain, this article attempts to set out a  recommended course of actions (to be taken by the GoP and various other stake holders) and their appropriate chronological order  to rid the country of harmful iTFAs without impacting the overall economy.

Heartfile releases an abridged Urdu version of their earlier documentary film highlighting the prevalence of industrially-produced Trans-fats (iTFAs) in Pakistan’s dietary sources and how to save population of Pakistan from exposure to related health risks

15 December 2020: Heartfile publishes an abridged version of their iTFA documentary  which was released earlier by Heartfile on 11 November 2020. This abridged version is in Urdu which increases its outreach to millions of Pakistanis and complements the original English version for Non-Urdu speaking / international audience. Like its earlier English counterpart,  the documentary essentially delivers the same earlier message  of highlighting the prevalence as well as hazards of high levels of iTFA intake and the importance of all key stakeholders (i.e. the Government, the Producers and the Consumers) coming together for coordinated actions to reduce iTFA intake at population level. Making it available in Urdu  makes it even more understandable to the nation’s ordinary Urdu speaking public. The unabridged  English version can be watched at