Food Makers Vow to Cut Trans Fats Globally

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Heart and circulatory disease kills 160,000 people in the United Kingdom each year - with an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people dying as a result of chronic conditions caused by consuming trans fat, said Prof Capewell.

Industrially-produced trans-fatty acids, like margarine and some hardened vegetable fats, are popular among food producers because they are cheap and typically have a long shelf life.

Moreover, it's possible to eliminate trans fats without changing the flavor of food, so even if you haven't already been eating this way, you probably won't know the difference. "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". The same year the FDA required manufacturers to list trans fat content information on food labels.

Dr. Walter C. Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said he thought the W.H.O. initiative would likely lead to the extinction of trans fats in the near future.

Fear not, the move towards eliminating trans fats doesn't mean you'll have to kiss your precious Oreos goodbye. Originally popularized after the negative impacts of saturated fatty acids were discovered, trans fats have fallen out of favor as their own health effects have gained prominence.

Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

In Monday's statement, World Health Organization said action is needed in low- and middle-income countries, where regulations on artificial trans fatty acids are weaker.

In Denmark, the first country to ban trans fats from food products, the results have also been dramatic.

WHO Global Ambassador for Non-communicable Diseases, Michael R. Bloomberg, a three-term mayor of NY city and the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, said "A comprehensive approach to tobacco control allowed us to make more progress globally over the last decade than nearly anyone thought possible - now, a similar approach to trans fat can help us make that kind of progress against cardiovascular disease, another of the world's leading causes of preventable death". The WHO recommends that no more than 1 percent of a person's calories come from trans fats.

Action is needed in low- and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially-produced trans fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world. "A comprehensive approach to tobacco control allowed us to make more progress globally over the last decade than nearly anyone thought possible - now, a similar approach to trans fat can help us make that kind of progress against cardiovascular disease, another of the world's leading causes of preventable death".

Tedros said curbing the use of trans fats would be a centrepiece of WHO's efforts to cut deaths from noncommunicable diseases by a third before 2030, which is one of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. While REPLACE is not a mandate, the organization hopes it will help governments swiftly eliminate these fats.

"Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?" asks Dr Tedros. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food. Moreover, the foods that still contain trans fats in the US and Europe tend to disproportionately affect the poor, because foods containing trans fats tend to be cheaper.

"Two years ago, IFBA member companies committed to reduce industrially produced trans fat in their products worldwide to nutritionally insignificant levels by the end of 2018".

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