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WHO convinces industry to reduce trans fats

Trans fats vs health foods conceptThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has achieved a major breakthrough in its campaign to eliminate industrially produced trans fats from the global food supply by 2023.

After a meeting with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) representatives, including chief executive officers from several of the twelve companies comprising the alliance, on May 2nd, 2019 the industry committed to eliminate industrial trans fats, and reduce quantities of salt, sugar and saturated fats in processed foods. The meeting also stressed the value of regulatory action on labelling, marketing and called industry to full adherence to the WHO Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes.

“The commitment made by IFBA is in line with WHO’s target to eliminate industrial trans fats from the global food supply by 2023,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “WHO will be monitoring the next steps to be taken by companies to help ensure the commitment is realized.”

The IFBA members pledged that the amount of industrial trans fat (iTFA) in their products will not exceed 2 g of iTFA per 100 g fat/oil globally by 2023. This is in line with the WHO’s objective and recommendations of its REPLACE action package, which was developed and launched in 2018.

“Eliminating industrially-produced trans fat is one of the simplest and most effective ways to save lives and create a healthier food supply,” added Dr Tedros.

In line with the REPLACE initiative, the WHO has called on all food producers and oil and fat manufacturers, not only IFBA members, to commit to the elimination of industrial trans fats from the global food supply.

Trans fat intake is responsible for over 500,000 deaths from coronary heart disease each year globally.

Last month the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) took a step in the same direction and proposed amendments to ‘Food Products Standards and Food Additive Regulations, 2011’ to limit trans-fatty acids in all oils and fats to not more than three percent by January, 2021 and to not more than two percent by January, 2022.

It is a collective responsibility of policymakers and civil society groups to create awareness and educate the Indian populace about nutrition ethics for a healthier lifestyle. But the industry can’t shy away from its responsibility towards consumers and provide them the quality as promised in the products they deliver – of which health plays an important part.


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