World Health Organization urges ban on industrial trans-fats by 2023

The World Health Organisation called on all nations to eliminate artificial trans fats which are common in fried and processed foods from everything we eat in the next five years

World Health Organization urges ban on industrial trans-fats by 2023

The World Health Organization released a plan Monday that aims to eliminate trans-fatty acids from the world's food supply within the next five years.

In Denmark, the first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats, the trans fat content of food products declined dramatically and cardiovascular disease deaths declined more quickly than in comparable OECD countries. Hydrogenated fats are basically vegetable oil which has an extra hydrogen atom attached to its molecules using industrial processes, resulting in a substance that hardens into solid fat at lower temperatures, as the FDA described them.

Commercially produced trans fatty acids are found in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and clarified butter, and are often found in snack foods, baked goods, and fried foods.

Implementing the WHO's strategy for replacing trans fats, including promoting healthier alternatives and legislating against the harmful ingredients, would remove them from the food chain and score a major victory against heart disease, he said. For the record, Denmark had set an example for other nations by becoming the first to take an initiative of restricting the use of industrially manufactured trans-fats in food supply.

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New York Times: Trans Fats Should be Eliminated Worldwide by 2023, WHO Says (Jacobs, 5/14). Tom Frieden, president of Resolve to Save Lives.

In June, all products sold in the United States must be free of industrially produced trans-fats. Manufacturers use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. But healthier alternatives that will not affect taste or cost of food can be used, the World Health Organization said.

Quartz: How trans fat fell from grace to become a foodie villain (Purdy, 5/14).

Dr M.S.S. Mukharjee, senior cardiologist, said, "Trans fats are produced when oil is repeatedly heated".

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It also wants trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population Assessed and monitored.

Enforce: Ensure the proper application of policies and regulations.

Food manufacturers supplying USA consumers are expected to have changed their production processes to reduce trans fat use to negligible levels by next month.

In 2006, New York City banned restaurants from serving food with trans fats.

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He's right. Various studies have shown that both the bans in NY and Denmark noticeably reduced the rate of death from heart disease in just three years. The country has witnessed improvement in the citizens' health and a reduction in deaths by way of cardiovascular disease. The organization wants "to ensure that the benefits [of a ban] are felt equally around the world", but with inevitable pushback from companies that rely on the inclusion of trans fat in their products, that might be hard to achieve globally.

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