WHO Wants to Eliminate Trans Fat in Foods on a Global Level

WHO Wants to Eliminate Trans Fat in Foods on a Global Level

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is looking to overhaul the food industry on a global level. On May 14, the organization released a guide called REPLACE, which is step-by-step approach to eliminating trans fats in foods in the next five years.

WHO’s reasoning for doing away with trans fatty acids in the food we consume is that it is the key to living a healthier life, while also potentially saving many more lives in the process. The organization explained that they believe, “trans fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease,” every single year.

According to the news release from WHO, trans fats that have produced industrially can be found in everything from snack foods to fried foods, and even many baked goods. The reasoning for this is that they are said to have a shelf life that is longer than many of the other fats that could potentially be used in its place. However, WHO said that there are other alternatives that are much healthier, and that would not have an impact on the cost of the food, or even the way it tastes.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, said that they are calling on governments around the globe to implement the REPLACE program in an effort to eliminate trans fats from food. He shared that by “implementing the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package,” the organization believes that this will help other countries to “achieve the elimination of trans fat.” Dr. Ghebreyesus also said that removing these trans fats would be a “major victory” in the fight against global issues of cardiovascular disease.

The REPLACE approach is a set of six guidelines which WHO believes would ensure that there is a complete elimination of trans fats from the world’s food supply. Starting with Review, which would have governments reviewing the sources of these trans fats that are produced industrially. This step would also see what would be required to change the policy for food manufacturers.

The second step in the plan is Promote. Under this step, governments would be promoting the switch from the unhealthy trans fats to oils and fats that are more natural and healthier for people to consume.

In the third step, WHO recommends legislation been put into effect that would reduce and eliminate the use of trans fats in the food supply. This leads to the fourth step, which is Assess. In this step, the governments would work on monitoring the trans fat content found in people’s food, while also keeping an eye on the changes that occur in the overall consumption of these fats by the population.

The fifth step in the REPLACE plan is Create, in which the government creates awareness for their citizens as to the impact these industrially produces trans fats have on their health and well-being. This step is about raising awareness with the people who run the government, the people who produce the food, and of course the people who are consuming these products.

Finally the last step in WHO’s plan is Enforce. This step is all about making sure people follow the regulations and policies that are set forth.

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WHO’s plan is based on countries and and even cities which have already made major changes to their food supply. Places such as Denmark have already eliminated most of the trans fats in their food, with great success. In fact, since the country cracked down on these industrially produced trans fats, they have seen a decline in deaths related to cardiovascular disease.

The plan of action is part of a global initiative to help countries that would be considered low to middle income, in an effort to improve the controls on food there. With many countries not having the resources of the richer countries, it makes sense to create a plan that would be beneficial to everyone.

Ultimately, the REPLACE program is WHO’s way of eliminating trans fat on a global level in such a way as to be fair and equal to everyone. For now though, it remains to be seen if this will work in the targeted five years that WHO has estimated, or if a different plan of action will need to be taken.

By Kimberley Spinney


World Health Organization – WHO plan to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from global food supply
Time Magazine – Trans Fats Should Be Eliminated From All Food Over the Next 5 Years: World Health Organization

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