WHO urges global ban on trans fats

WHO unveils new strategies to fight trans-fat in foods

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced their campaign to institute a global ban of trans fat in foods around the world by the year 2023.

The initiative, launched May 14, will offer countries across the globe guidance on how to remove these artificial fats from their food, with an ultimate goal of worldwide eradication.

Trans fat, AKA "partially hydrogenated oil", was once seen as something of a savior in food, especially in the US.

American consumers are more accustomed to the name partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Eliminating trans fats is key to protecting health and saving lives: WHO estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease.

Trans fats were created to improve the shelf life of pastries, cookies, cakes and deep-fried foods and became popular in the 1950s. Canada will ban them as of September 2018 and many other countries are taking steps to eliminate the substance. In a statement, WHO's head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called the prospect of finally eradicating trans fats "a global win in the fight against cardiovascular disease".

There are some naturally occurring trans fats in some foods made from animals-like dairy and meat-but the artificial trans fats are the ones the World Health Organization is calling for a ban on.

That's also probably why, for this initiative, WHO is partnering with Tom Frieden, the NY health commissioner who got the trans-fat ban passed. She said Nestle'; has eliminated these from 99.8% of fats and oils the company uses.


When New York City banned restaurants from serving food with trans fats in 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration adopted a requirement that same year for manufacturers to list trans fat content information on food labels.

According to WHO, 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.

Denmark banned trans fats in their food 15 years ago. The recommendations of the REPLACE program include promoting the replacement of hydrogenated oils and vegetable fats with healthier alternatives, monitoring trans fats in food supplies, and create awareness regarding the adverse side effects of consuming trans fats.

A ssess and monitor trans fats in food and changes in trans fat consumption.

L egislate or enact regulations to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.

"Trans fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills", said Dr. Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and a former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "and there's no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed".

"Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?" asks Dr Tedros. In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, they can raise the levels of bad cholesterol in the body while lowering the levels of good cholesterol. There are also naturally occurring trans fats in some meats and dairy products.

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