Ridding foods of dangerous industrial trans fats requires country-wide best practice policies, and nearly half the world has adopted those policies finds a research report issued by the UN World Health Organization today.

A total of 53 countries had best practice policies in place as of 2023, improving the food environment for 3.7 billion people, or 46 percent of the world’s population, WHO reports.

Industrially produced trans fats – also known as trans-fatty acids – are chemicals found in many fried foods, baked goods, packaged foods, vegetable shortenings, margarines, and spreads.

- These trans-fatty acids clog arteries, increasing the risks of heart attack and death. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, and more than 278,000 deaths each year can be attributed to intake of industrially produced trans fats, according to the World Health Organization’s new research report.

Given their negative health effects, the current progress could save approximately 183,000 lives per year, WHO reports. Yet, progress has been unequal, with the highest remaining burden concentrated in the WHO Africa and Western Pacific Regions.

The new report summarizes country actions to ban this toxic chemical and make recommendations to achieve global trans fat elimination.

Since May 2020, Bangladesh, India, Paraguay have passed best-practice trans fat elimination policies.

In 2021, best practice policies came into effect in Brazil, Peru, Singapore, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the European Union.

In 2023, new best practice policies became effective in seven countries: Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Philippines, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

It was back in 2018 that the World Health Organization first set the ambitious goal of eliminating all trans fat from the global food supply by the end of 2023. At the time, only six percent, or less than half a billion people, lived with trans fat best practice policies.

“Trans fat elimination is attainable, affordable and life-saving, and WHO remains committed to supporting Member States in their journeys towards this goal,” Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety at WHO, said.

High intake of trans fat, which WHO defines as more than one percent of total energy intake, is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease and mortality. Eliminating trans fat is a powerful way to prevent heart disease and the high costs it incurs for individuals and economies in medical treatment and lost productivity.

WHO recommends best-practice policies,such as setting trans fat limits or banning partially hydrogenated oils – a major source of trans fat in food.


The Best of Practices: REPLACE

WHO is calling for accelerated action until 2025 to complete the elimination of trans fats and their replacement with healthier fats.

The agency’s REPLACE action package provides a strategic approach to eliminating industrially-produced trans fat from national food supplies.

The package is a comprehensive technical document offering a rationale and framework for this integrated approach to trans fat elimination, along with six action modules and additional web resources.

WHO’s six areas of action can be boiled down to six words: review, regulate, replace, reassess, educate, enforce.

  • REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fat and the landscape for required policy change.
  • Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fat with healthier fats and oils.
  • Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fat.
  • Assess and monitor trans fat content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population.
  • Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fat among policy-makers, producers, suppliers, and the public.
  • Enforce compliance with policies and regulations.

Every region of the world is making what WHO calls “remarkable progress” towards the total elimination of industrially produced trans fats in the food supply.

Because WHO is committed to supporting countries and celebrating their achievements in this field, in January, WHO awarded five countries the Validation Certificate for progress in eliminating industrially produced trans fat: Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand.

Yet, despite promising trends, WHO observes that progress has been uneven. More than four billion people across the world remain unprotected from trans fats, mainly in the WHO African and Western Pacific Regions.

“Implementing best practice policies in just eight additional countries would eliminate 90 percent of the global deaths associated with this harmful ingredient,” the UN health agency said.

“Beyond passing WHO-recommended best practice trans fat policies, ensuring that compliance with these policies is monitored and enforced will be critical to achieve maximized and sustained health benefits of trans fat elimination,” Dr. Branca said.

The WHO also calls on food manufacturers to eliminate the use of trans fats in product lines and supply chains, even where regulations are not yet in place.

This year, Cargill, a privately-held American global food giant based in Minnesota, became the first global edible oils supplier to meet World Health Organization’s best practices on eliminating industrially produced trans-fatty acids, iTFA.

By doing so, Cargill joined many of the world’s largest food companies and members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance who have committed to the WHO goal, applying this limit even in countries where there is currently no legislative mandate.

Cargill says its achievement in replacing trans fats reflects decades of work and millions of dollars of investments in capital expenses and resources, as well as thousands of R&D hours. Cargill says the company has helped more than 400 customers make the switch, and has removed more than 1.5 billion pounds of products containing industrially produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.

“We’re pleased to see Cargill’s continued commitment to reduce industrially produced trans fats in all their oils, recently achieving their goal to align with the World Health Organization’s recommended standards,” says René Lammers, PepsiCo’s chief science officer.

“This move aligns with PepsiCo’s successful reduction of iTFAs in our foods to meet this same standard, and we encourage our fellow industry partners to join us in this important initiative to evolve our food and beverage portfolio to be better for the planet and people,” Lammers said.

Trans fats are most often formed through the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, but they can also be created by high thermal treatment during edible oil refining.

“I congratulate all the countries which have developed regulations and are implementing best-practice trans fat elimination policies,” WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“The first-ever global elimination of a risk factor for noncommunicable diseases is within our reach,” the WHO leader said. “All countries must act now to protect their people from this harmful and unnecessary compound.”

From https://ens-newswire.com



Utifrån uppgifter om vad maten innehåller i undersökningen Matkorgen 2022, går det att uppskatta intaget i Sverige till 2 gram transfett per person och dag. Av det är det mesta naturligt transfett, till exempel från feta mejeriprodukter, medan industriellt transfett utgör en liten del

Livssvmedelsverket om transfett



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