World Health Organisation pushes for worldwide ban on trans fats

WHO plans to strike trans-fats from global food supply

Ekaterina Markelova

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

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". "The UK is lagging behind countries like Denmark", said Prof Capewell.

Some governments, including Denmark, have already implemented nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced trans fats.

There are also naturally occurring trans fats in some meats and dairy products.

World Health Organization is also using this milestone to work with governments, the food industry, academia and civil society to make food systems healthier for future generations, including by eliminating industrially-produced trans fats." said Ghebreyesus. The WHO recommends that no more than 1 percent of a person's calories come from trans fats.

World Health Organization today released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.

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"The world is now setting its sights on today's leading killers - particularly heart disease, which kills more people than any other cause in nearly every country", said Frieden, who is president of a New-York-based philanthropy-funded project called Resolve to Save Lives. Trans fatty foods became increasingly popular beginning in the 1950s, partly because experts at the time thought they were healthier than cooking with butter or lard.

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. They used them in such fare as doughnuts, cookies and deep-fried foods.

One study published last year by The Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who lived in parts of New York State where trans fats had been banned for three or more years had significantly lower rates of heart attacks and strokes.

REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change. Diets high in trans fat increase heart disease risk by 21% and deaths by 28%.

Many manufacturers cut back, and studies showed trans fat levels in the blood of middle-aged USA adults fell by almost 60 percent by the end of the decade. Food and food-oil manufacturers are working on replacements for the partially hydrogenated oils they've relied on for so many years, and palm, canola, and sunflower oil are widely used. FDA officials have not said how much progress has been made or how they will enforce their rule against food makers that don't comply.

The WHO's hope is that a global campaign to eliminate trans fats everywhere will lead to better health outcomes for everyone.

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