New plan to extend effort to eliminate trans fats globally

ImageCreditAudrey Helen Weber

Elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply has been identified as one of the priority targets of WHO's strategic plan, the draft 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) which will guide the work of World Health Organization in 2019 - 2023.

Artificial trans fats are formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, causing the oil to harden.

The United States Food and Drug Administration set a three-year compliance period in July of 2015 that said companies either had to make their products without partially hydrogenated oils or petition to be allowed to use them. Trans fats have also been linked to raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and increasing the chance of getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Launching REPLACE, a plan to eliminate trans fats from the global food supply, WHO said that the move was crucial to protecting the health of individuals everywhere.

In a press statement on Monday, the health agency released a step by step guide called "REPLACE" for governments to follow in achieving the aim. 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. Branda is pushing for middle and lower-income countries to pick up the fight in eliminating trans fats. 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. It estimated that every year, trans-fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular diseases. "WHO is using this milestone to work with governments, the food industry, academia and civil society to make food systems healthier for future generations".

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.

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Trans fats are primarily used in fried foods like fries and doughnuts as well as in baked goods such as cakes, pies, biscuits, pizza, and cookies.

They're also found naturally in some meats such as beef and mutton, as well as in dairy products.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva on Monday.

The WHO's new policy can't actually ban trans fats in these countries.

The WHO pointed out that several high-income countries have virtually eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legally-imposed limits on the amount that can be present in packaged food. Also, this is the first time the WHO, or any global health organization, has proposed a ban on a dietary component.

It's also important to note here that Australian manufacturers are not required to declare TFAs on food labels, however, it is compulsory if the manufacturer makes a nutrition content claim about cholesterol or saturated, trans, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, omega-3, omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids.

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