World Health Organization pushes ban of margarine by 2023

Products displayed at a supermarket. /FILE

Products displayed at a supermarket. /FILE

Artificial trans fats or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are estimated to cause at least half million deaths a year, with the bulk occurring in developing countries.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged governments around the globe to ban the use of trans fats. The campaign involved six steps including reviewing the dietary sources of industrially-produced trans-fat, its replacement with healthier fats and oils and legislation to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fat.

He further stated that implementing the six strategies in the REPLACE plan will help in eliminating the prevalence of trans-fat, thereby signifying a pivotal victory for WHO's initiative to combat cardiovascular ailments.

Several high-income countries have virtually eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legally imposed limits on the amount that can be contained in packaged food.

"The world is now setting its sights on today's leading killers — particularly heart disease, which kills more people than any other cause in nearly every country", said Frieden, who is president of a New-York-based philanthropy-funded project called Resolve to Save Lives. "But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food", The global health body said in the statement. "But in the last three or four years, most big food companies have stopped using trans fats", she said.

Defining "elimination", Frieden said, it meant bringing down the level of TFA in food to two per cent. Countries like Denmark did this way back in 2003 and found that even cardio vascular deaths declined.

The WHO just announced a plan to have trans fats banned around the world by 2023. "While we can not estimate a percentage of products on store shelves that will be free of PHOs on June 19, 2018, we are confident that over the past three years, manufacturers have taken appropriate steps to reformulate products if and as necessary", an FDA spokesperson told Newsweek. 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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Switzerland, Britain, Canada, and the United States have all already moved to ban trans fats.

The intake of TFA results in more than 500,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease, annually.

The Guardian: Industrial trans fats must be removed from food supply, World Health Organization says (Boseley, 5/14).

GPW13 is on the agenda of the 71st World Health Assembly that will be held in Geneva on 21 - 26 May 2018.

Global elimination of industrially-produced trans fats can help achieve this goal.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a separate statement as well.

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