Monday, 23 July, 2018

World Health Organization calls for worldwide ban on trans-fats

WHO Calls for Worldwide Elimination of Trans Fats by 2023 Media Outlets Continue Coverage Of WHO's Plan To Eliminate Trans Fats From Global Food Supply By 2023
Gustavo Carr | 16 May, 2018, 11:17

Officials think it can be done in five years because the work is well underway in many countries.

"Trans-fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there's no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed", said Tom Frieden, who now leads the health initiative.

A ban on the processed fats would save half a million lives each year, World Health Organization says. "That's what you want, because behavior change is hard".

Several countries, particularly the richer ones, have already limited or are on the verge of eliminating trans fats in packaged foods.

Trans fats are linked to an estimated 500,000 deaths worldwide per year. Their damaging effects include a rise in levels of so-called bad cholesterol and a decline in levels of good cholesterol.

Now the WHO and governments around the world are cracking down.

The World Health Organization wants to get rid of trans fat from the global food supply altogether, and it wants it gone in five years.

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"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. Food manufacturers need to reformulate products to contain close to zero trans fats. Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter.

Other research published by Canadian researchers in the British Medical Journal in 2015 found that eating artificial trans increase heart disease risk by 21 percent and deaths by 28 percent.

Researchers starting suggesting these fats might be unsafe based on signs of their accumulation in autopsies in the late 1950s. The country has witnessed improvement in the citizens' health and a reduction in deaths by way of cardiovascular disease. In 2003, a Danish law that limited the amounts of these fats in food was passed.

"It's a change in the food environment that's likely to have a significant impact on public health and does not require significant behavior change", New York University food scientist Marion Nestle told the Times. Then, in 2006, New York City passed a law banning trans fats, phasing them out of the city by the summer of 2008.

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

The WHO's new policy can't actually ban trans fats in these countries. They are produced by using hydrogen as an additive to vegetable oil which causes liquid fats to become solid when kept at room temperature.