World Health Organization calls for elimination of trans fat in all foods by 2023

WHO plans to strike trans-fats from global food supply

"The public health community are in consensus that trans fats should be eliminated", he said.

Today, the World Health Organization announced the latest salvo against trans fats, announcing a plan to eliminate them from foods everywhere within the next five years. More than 20 nations have restricted the use of trans fats in the last 15 years, and major food manufacturers have practically eliminated the use of trans fats in their foods: Nestle has eliminated trans fats from 99.8% of the oils they use; members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance, which include Kellogg, General Mills, and McDonald's, have eliminated trans fats from 98.8% of their global product portfolios; and Mondelez International, the maker of Oreos, is on track to eliminate all partially hydrogenated oils from its products by the end of the year. A 2015 study published in the WHO Bulletin estimated that anywhere from 301 to 1517 cardiac deaths per year were averted by eliminating industrially-produced trans fats in Argentina (1).

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

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 for 2019-2023.

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.

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Three inter-agency subgroups were created, leading to changes in 2010 in the Argentinian food code, el Código Alimentario Argentino (CAA), and a new guide for small and medium businesses on how to replace industrially-produced trans fats.

In explicit new advice, World Health Organization has said that excessive amounts of saturated fat and trans fat should be replaced by polyunsaturated fats, such as fish, canola and olive oils.

Trans fats, often in the form of partially hydrogenated food oils, played a leading role in the post-World War II popularization of packaged foods in the United States and elsewhere.

Decades of studies have consistently shown that trans fats cause coronary artery disease, and some countries have already started to ban them.

Trans fats are finding their way onto too many plates, and they need to be eliminated - ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease have become first and second causes of premature mortality, and the majority of these cases occur in low and middle-income countries.

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"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". The declaration recommended mandatory labeling of trans fat content in foods, standardized across the Americas, and when possible, replacement with unsaturated fats. "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".

Fear not, the move towards eliminating trans fats doesn't mean you'll have to kiss your precious Oreos goodbye.

Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

The new REPLACE program is WHO's first time calling for the elimination of something besides a non-communicable disease.

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