Monday, 19 November, 2018

World Health Organization calls for removal of trans fat in food supply by 2023

WHO Calls for Ban on Trans Fat Unsplash
Johnnie Parks | 16 May, 2018, 11:18

The World Health Organization announced on Monday that it is mounting a campaign to have risky man-made trans fats disqualified from use in all food products. According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Denmark's cardiovascular disease deaths declined dramatically three years after policy was enforced. These oils, which are referred to by the term partially hydrogenated, resulted in a decreased cost of processing foods while extending the shelf life of food products causing them to become popular as an ingredient with snack foods.

"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. "Trans fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there's no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed".

Switzerland, Britain, Canada, and the United States have all already moved to ban trans fats. Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter.

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WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: "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".

Dr Ravi Shankar, senior gastroenterologist, said, "Trans fats are mainly found in fast foods and if they are consumed in higher quantities, they lead to premature death and accumulation of fats in one's blood vessels which can even lead to cerebral palsy". Diets high in trans fat increase heart disease risk by 21 per cent and deaths by 28 per cent. The decision has helped NY minimize the proportion of heart attacks without impacting the taste or costs of food products. But it worked, according to a study published a year ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology, reducing heart attack and stroke rates in the city. The U.S. now has a ban in place going into effect next month. But the hope is that the guidelines will encourage governments to enact these bans. Some have banned partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced trans fats, the World Health Organization said.

It's possible that within five years, a unsafe substance that increases death rates won't be in use anymore.

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