Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Medicine | By Ray Hunter

World Health Organization warns against use of solid fats

World Health Organization warns against use of solid fats

World Health Organization has said that trans fats intake leads to more than 5,00,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease, and wants its use phased out. They are used by snack manufacturers as they have an elongated shelf life as compared to other kinds of fat.

"Implementing the six strategic actions in the replace package will help achieve the elimination of trans fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease", he said.

Most of the trans fats in the diet are produced during the process of partial hydrogenation (hardening) of vegetable oils into semi-solid fats.

The move gives India, with its high incidence of heart disease, the chance to look inwards at locally-produced healthy oils.

The agency made the announcement on Monday, May 14, as they launched an initiative called REPLACE that will be the goal for all countries looking to get rid of artificial trans fats from their food supply, as CNN reported.

"It is important to create awareness among people to read the nutrition label on food products which gives information about main ingredients and the percentage of trans fats".

It further wants compliance with policies and regulations enforced.

Denmark banned trans fats 15 years ago, and since then the United States and more than 40 other higher-income countries have been working on getting the heart-clogging additives out of their food supplies.

Food manufacturers supplying US consumers are expected to have changed their production processes to reduce trans fat use to negligible levels by next month. Not only do these fats increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood they also affect a decrease in good cholesterols. Canada has approved a ban that is set to take effect in September and an America-wide ban will start in June (before now, only New York City had legislation to restrict the substance). 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.

The WHO and not-for-profit organisation Resolve to Save Lives have teamed up to build a scheme for governments to use to tackle industrially-produced trans fats. The country has witnessed improvement in the citizens' health and a reduction in deaths by way of cardiovascular disease. Elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply has been identified as one of the priority targets of WHO's strategic plan, the draft 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) which will guide the work of World Health Organization in 2019 - 2023.

The General Programme of Work is on the agenda of the 71 World Health Assembly that will be held in Geneva May 21 - 26.

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

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