World Health Organization Seeks Ban Of Unhealthy Trans Fats

WHO Calls for Worldwide Elimination of Trans Fats by 2023

WHO aims to eliminate the use of trans fats world wide by 2023 and released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.

In 2015, the FDA took steps to finish the job of eliminating trans fats, calling for manufacturers to stop selling trans fatty foods by June 18, 2018 — a deadline that arrives next month. In Denmark, the first country to ban trans fats from food products, the results have also been dramatic.

There are some naturally occurring trans fats in some foods made from animals-like dairy and meat-but the artificial trans fats are the ones the World Health Organization is calling for a ban on.

"The removal of trans fats from the food supply as an additive counts as one of the major public health victories of the last decade", said Laura MacCleery, policy director for the Washington, D.C. -based advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Diets of high trans fats increase risk of heart disease by 21% and death by 28%. The WHO's main concern is countries in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia which still use products that contain trans fats excessively.

According to the USDA, a reduction in trans fat could prevent almost 30,000 premature deaths in the US every year. "But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food", The global health body said in the statement.

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, the WHO statement said. "While we can not estimate a percentage of products on store shelves that will be free of PHOs on June 19, 2018, we are confident that over the past three years, manufacturers have taken appropriate steps to reformulate products if and as necessary", an FDA spokesperson told Newsweek.

Several rich countries have already virtually eliminated trans fats by putting limits on the amounts allowed in packaged foods.

Trans-fatty acids can also occur naturally in meat and dairy products from ruminant animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats, etc). Nevertheless, the country has the opportunity to address its health and economics by supporting more locally produced oils.

In some places, partially hydrogenated oils have already been banned, cutting off one of the main sources of commercially produced trans fats from their food supply, according to the World Health Organization via Reuters. Partially hydrogenated oils are primarily used for deep frying and as an ingredient in baked goods; they can be replaced in both.

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