Knowledge for better food systems

WHO plans to remove industrial trans fats from food supply

Image: Biswarup Ganguly, Frying Samosas (bn: Singara) in deep oil at Morabad, Ranchi, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

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:

  1. REview sources of industrially-produced trans fats
  2. Promote healthier replacements
  3. Legislate to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats
  4. Assess and monitor trans fats supply and consumption
  5. Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats
  6. 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).

Find out more here and read the WHO’s press release here. See also the Foodsource chapter What is the connection between food and health?

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