Medicine

World Health Organization Sets Deadline For Eliminating Trans Fats From Food

World Health Organization Sets Deadline For Eliminating Trans Fats From Food

Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development says "Trans fat are a harmful compound that can be removed easily without major cost and without any impact on the quality of the foods".

Trans fat, or trans fatty acids, are made when vegetable oil hardens in a process called hydrogenation. In the decades that followed, food companies began incorporating partially hydrogenated oil into their products because it increased the shelf life of baked goods and facilitated an easier way to make buyer-friendly food textures. These products increase the levels of bad LDL-cholesterol (a sign of increased cardiovascular disease risk) and lower levels of good HDL-cholesterol.

Today, the World Health Organization - the U.N.'s public-health arm - announced a plan meant to help eradicate the world's trans fats.

The strategy to eliminate trans fats, dubbed REPLACE, calls for a broad awareness and advocacy campaign as well as legislative action worldwide "to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats".

"The reality is that global food companies have done an fantastic job reducing trans fats in rich countries, but they have largely ignored Asia and Africa". Trans fats are used in foods like these as they don't spoil as quickly when compared to other fats, but they have been shown to cause seriously harm to our overall health. They have connected that cardiovascular disease as a factor to overconsuming trans fats enriched food.

Switzerland, Britain, Canada, and the U.S. have all already moved to ban trans fats, and Thailand is expected to make a similar decree in the next month, according to the New York Times.

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"Trans fat is a toxic chemical that has been added to our food supply and accounts for an estimated more than 500,000 deaths every year". The world is now embarking on the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, using it as a driver for improved access to healthy food and nutrition. Some governments have implemented nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced trans fats.

The new REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply and has a step-by-step strategy on how to do so by 2023.

World Health Organization guidelines recommend a maximum of 1% of total energy from trans fat and 10% from saturated fats.

"Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?" asked Dr Tedros.

E nforce compliance of new and existing policies and regulations. Two years ago, IFBA member companies committed to reducing industrially produced trans fat to no more than one gram per 100 grams of product by the end of 2018.

Denmark was the first country to impose mandatory restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats in 2003, and according to World Health Organization, have since witnessed a decline in cardiovascular disease-related deaths. Trans fats also occur naturally in the dairy products and meat of ruminants, like cows and sheep. While WHO does not have the power to enact this global ban on trans fats, it hopes that future generations would be addicted to trans fats. Note: material may have been edited for length and content.