Food In Canada

WHO wants trans fats out of global food supply

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The World Health Organization wants to see trans fats eliminated from the global food supply and has released a series of guidelines to help food manufacturers

the type "Trans Fat 0g" circled in red on a nutrition label

Geneva, Switzerland – The World Health Organization (WHO) wants the food industry to eliminate industrially produced trans fats from the global food supply.

The WHO released a statement (“WHO plan to eliminate industrially produced trans-fatty acids from global food supply“) on May 14, 2018 explaining that trans fats “lead to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease” each year.

The WHO says trans fats are found in “hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods and fried foods.” Trans fats are used often because they have a longer shelf life compared to other fats. But healthier options do exist.

To help the food industry eliminate trans fats, the WHO also released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide. REPLACE offers six strategies to “ensure the prompt, complete and sustained elimination of industrially produced trans fats from the food supply.”


Those strategies, as listed in the statement, include:

• REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.

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

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

• Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population.

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

• Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

The WHO says several high-income countries have almost eliminated trans fats through legislation, and some governments have implemented nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils, which are the main source of industrially produced trans fats.

The government of Canada announced its ban of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the main source of industrially produced trans fats, from our food supply in 2017. The ban takes effect Sept. 15, 2018.


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