WHO vows to eliminate trans fat from global food supply

Sherry Tadeja
PUBLISHED May 15, 2018 03:15 pm
Free stock photo from Pexels/Website

(Inside Manila) The World Health Organization (WHO) is on a mission to rid the world of trans-fatty acid. To do so, the organization recently launched "REPLACE" a step-by-step guide to eliminate industrially produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.


In case you didn't know, trans-fatty acids better known as trans-fat are produced from hardened vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation. This substance is often present in margarine, ghee, and especially in snack, baked and fried food. Trans-fat is also often used for longer shelf life.


However, trans fat intake is known to cause cardiovascular disease. WHO estimated that every year 500,000 deaths were reported that points back to trans-fat causing cardiovascular disease.


"WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply," said WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press release. "Implementing the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help achieve the elimination of trans-fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease," he added.


According to the press release, REPLACE is six strategic actions that target the elimination of trans-fat to global food supply:


“REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.


Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils.


Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.


Assess and monitor trans-fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population.


Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policymakers, producers, suppliers, and the public,”


Several countries have already implemented and eliminated industrially produced trans-fats through legal limits, however, these countries are high incomes ones. This is a much harder case for the low and middle-income countries where restriction of industrially-produced trans fat are much used every day.


WHO's plans to eliminate industrially-produced trans fat is part of the organization's strategic plan or the draft 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) which is WHO's work guide from 2019-2030. Moreover, elimination of trans fat is part of the United Nation's Sustainable Developement Goal of reducing premature death from non-communicable disease by one-third by 2030.

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