The Consul General of Malaysia in Karachi, Mr. Khairul Nazran Abdul Rahman said that Pakistan is the fourth largest importer of Malaysian palm oil after India, the European Union, and China.
He mentioned that food scientists play an important role not only for the food industry but also for society as a whole. Among others, one of their main responsibilities is to ensure the supply of quality and healthy food and to take all possible steps to prevent unhealthy foods and their supply.
He expressed these views while addressing a seminar on “Oils and Fats Processing and Health Benefits,” at the Dr Essa Hall of the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi. The event was organized by the Department of Food Science and Technology and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Consulate-General, Malaysia. It was well attended by members of food industry, key government officials, lecturers and students of food science.
During his address, the Vice Chancellor University of Karachi, Professor Dr. Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said that the University of Karachi has never compromised on merit and that is why domestic and foreign companies trust it and many reputed institutions are currently working with the University.
He stressed that the industries should avail the research conducted by the varsities as they could help them in finding the best and most sustainable solutions for their problems at low cost. The KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi mentioned that strong relationships between academia and industries could be established if the traders and manufacturers back the research being carried out by the universities and utilize it in enhancing their products for the betterment of society. In regard to huge edible oil import, he called for a breakthrough in technology that could increase local production of oils and fats to narrow down the supply gap.
The Regional Manager of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Mr. Johari Manal said that palm oil has become the largest oil consumed in the world and most useful oil for the food industry due to its unique balanced fatty acid composition and being free of trans fatty acids, which are becoming more and more important for food production. Palm oil is also widely used in the production of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and soap.
A senior official of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Mr. Nadir Ali Ghanghro said that Pakistan imports 3.2 million tonnes of palm oil per year. In the production of banaspati, about 70% of palm oil is used as an ingredient. He informed the audience that Sindh government has a successful experience of planting palm trees, if further progress is made, the country could go into large-scale cultivation oil palm.
The Chairperson Department of Food Science and Technology University of Karachi, Dr Shahina Naz mentioned that the injurious trans fatty acids, one of the biggest reasons for the growing number of heart diseases, are produced during partial hydrogenation process of edible oils for the production of vegetable ghee.
She said that food produced in Pakistan still contained trans fatty acids, and sometime as high as 15 to 20 percent in banaspati ghee. Trans fatty acid in food is tantamount to inviting heart disease. She mentioned that the consumption of trans fats can lead to heart and arterial diseases as well as cancer. The food industry should find ways and means to reduce trans fats in food to lowest possible level.
Dr Syed Muhammad Ghafran Saeed of the Department of Food Science and Technology shared a very interesting finding on omega 3 oil which apart from being an essential fatty acid, it is anti-inflammatory and could boost immunity and fight against Covid 19 infection. He said flax seed, a rich source of omega 3, should be included in daily diet during this covid 19 pandemic..
At the end of the seminar, Mr. Johari Minal of MPOB reminded the audience that food which includes protein, carbohydrates, oils and other nutrients should be taken in moderation and within the recommended limits and energy requirement as recommended by WHO. Overconsumption of food especially simple carbohydrates and sugar, which are predominant in modern society, leads to obesity, imbalanced nutrient intakes and thus health issues