Thursday, 16 August, 2018

WHO urges global ban on trans fats

ImageCreditAudrey Helen Weber ImageCreditAudrey Helen Weber
Anna Jefferson | 15 May, 2018, 13:16

A 2017 directive from the FSSAI had ordered all food safety commissioners in states to ensure that interesterified vegetable oils, fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils, fat spreads do contain no more than five percent trans fats.

Trans fats are found in products manufacturers want to give a longer shelf life.

Trans-fats increase levels of LDL-cholesterol, a well-accepted biomarker for cardiovascular disease risk, and decreases levels of HDL-cholesterol, which carry away cholesterol from arteries and transport it to the liver, that secretes it into the bile.

Today, the World Health Organization - the U.N.'s public-health arm - announced a plan meant to help eradicate the world's trans fats.

The initiative, called REPLACE, offers a "step-by-step" guide for nations to follow to remove trans fat from their diets. Trans fats are used in foods like these as they don't spoil as quickly when compared to other fats, but they have been shown to cause seriously harm to our overall health. This makes them ideal for using in supposedly "low fat" or "healthy" substances, such as margarine. It estimated that every year, trans-fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular diseases. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food.

Nestle' SA is working toward "complete removal of all trans fats" originating from partially hydrogenated oils, a spokeswoman said. Denmark, which was the first country to mandate restrictions on such trans fats, has already experienced a decline in cardiovascular deaths. Trans fats also occur naturally in the dairy products and meat of ruminants, like cows and sheep.

A ssess and monitor trans fats in food and changes in trans fat consumption. Global elimination of industrially-produced trans fats can help achieve this goal.

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WHO Director General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said governments should use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acid from food supply.

Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policymakers, producers, suppliers, and the public.

Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus scheduled a Monday news conference in Geneva to discuss the topic, meanwhile, taking a page from how the group campaigned against infectious diseases years earlier. Well, The World Health Organization recommends that no more than 1% of our daily energy intake (kilojoules) should come from TFAs.

"The bottom line here is that this the beginning of the end for industrially produced trans fats", said Tom Frieden, who heads the Resolve to Save Lives advocacy group, which has partnered with World Health Organization on the push to eliminate the products.

It's also important to note here that Australian manufacturers are not required to declare TFAs on food labels, however, it is compulsory if the manufacturer makes a nutrition content claim about cholesterol or saturated, trans, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, omega-3, omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids.

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