WHO plans to remove industrial trans fats from food supply
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set out a strategy for removing industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply. WHO estimates that half a million people die each year because of cardiovascular disease caused by trans fat consumption. Artificial trans fat are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (a process that gives liquid vegetable oils a higher melting point), while some natural trans fats are found in meat and dairy.
WHO’s “REPLACE” strategy, aimed at governments, consists of six steps:
- REview sources of industrially-produced trans fats
- Promote healthier replacements
- Legislate to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats
- Assess and monitor trans fats supply and consumption
- Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats
- Enforce compliance of policies and regulations
EcoWatch warned that banning trans fat could lead to an increase in palm oil use, since palm oil has some similar properties to hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as shelf stability and a creamy texture (read more here).
While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.
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