A step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans–
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO said that the implementation of such an action is key in achieving the elimination of trans fat and would represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular diseases, a leading Non-Communicable Diseases causing thousands of deaths.
REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply. The strategic actions, in details are as follows:
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 policy makers, producers, suppliers, and the public.
Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.
Eliminating trans fats is key to protecting health and saving lives. WHO estimates that trans-fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease, yearly.
Industrially-produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods. Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food.
Several high-income countries have virtually eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legally imposed limits on the amount that can be contained in packaged food. Some governments have implemented nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced 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.
“Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?” asks Dr Tedros. “The world is now embarking on the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, using it as a driver for improved access to healthy food and nutrition.”
This is one way WHO will work with member states to tackle the root causes of Non-Communicable diseases while promoting healthy lifestyles. Also, a national context of implementing appropriate regulatory policy and programme intervention can be fostered.