Health Care

Food Makers Vow to Cut Trans Fats Globally

Food Makers Vow to Cut Trans Fats Globally”

Most of the American food industry stopped using artificial trans fats, a leading cause of heart disease and death globally, well in advance of a federal ban that goes into effect next month, and few consumers noticed the change in their French fries or doughnuts.

The WHO, on Monday launched its new REPLACE initiative that provides guidance to countries on the best ways to remove artificial trans fats from foods, hoping to lead to worldwide eradication.

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.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said, "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". It includes Review dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.

According to the World Health Organization, trans fat intake leads to the death of more than 500,000 people from cardiovascular disease each year.

Businesses ranging from large processed-food manufacturers to mom-and-pop restaurants and bakeries like using trans fats - usually for frying and as shortening in baked goods - because they are low-cost and have a long shelf life. The idea is fairly simple: Governments should require that artificial trans fats - like margarine and ghee - to be replaced with healthier fats and oils.

Although many wealthier countries have in recent years taken action to reduce the level of trans fats in their food, use of trans fat in less wealthy countries where regulation - either voluntary or legal - is often non-existent remains a serious public health concern. In India, for example, researchers have found high concentrations of trans fats in street food and in packaged snacks, many of which have no warning labels.

Trans fats are popular with manufacturers of fried, baked and snack foods because they have a long shelf life, but they are bad for consumers, increasing the risk of heart disease by 21 per cent and deaths by 28 per cent, a World Health Organization statement said.

The United States is already working on phasing out artificial trans fats.

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