World Health Organization unveils new strategies to fight trans-fat in foods

WHO unveils new strategies to fight trans-fat in foods

Countries urged to wipe out killer trans fats from foods

It has asked governments to implement six strategic actions to ensure the "prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply".

"The International Food and Beverage Alliance - a Geneva group representing food companies including Kellogg Co., General Mills Inc., McDonald's Corp. and Unilever NV - said its members have removed industrially produced trans fat from 98.8% of their global product portfolios".

One of WHO's partners, Resolve to Save Lives, is a part of Vital Strategies a non-profit organization that is planning to provide countries with assistance to support the new REPLACE program in eliminating the use of trans fats.

While the majority of products in Europe and the U.S.no longer contain trans fats, the rest of the world continues to use them and suffer the negative health outcomes.

The initiative is aimed at leading countries to the establishing of legislation that eliminates trans fats, said the WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development's director Dr. Francesco Branca in a statement released in Geneva.

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.

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Popularized in the 1950s, and once lionized as a healthy alternative to the saturated fats found in butter and lard, trans fats have been implicated in sudden heart attacks and strokes, but they are also associated with an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and even infertility in women. 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".

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

The first trans fatty food to hit the USA market was Crisco shortening, which went on sale in 1911. They used them in such fare as doughnuts, cookies and deep-fried foods.

It said adults and children should consume a maximum of 10% of their daily calories in the form of saturated fat and 1% from trans fats to reduce the risk of heart disease.

In certain countries, the risk is quite high.

REPLACE is the product of an agency with 7,000 people working in offices in 150 countries and, as such, is not one of those acronyms whose meaning is immediately apparent like, say, LOL. Some governments have implemented nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced trans fats.

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

Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils.

Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policy makers, producers, suppliers, and the public.

Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.

Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

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.

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