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WHO Recognizes Countries for Advancing Industrial Trans Fat Elimination

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently recognized and awarded validation certificates to several countries, including Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, for their significant efforts in eliminating industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA).
  • With 53 countries now implementing best practice policies for iTFA elimination, approximately 46% of the world’s population benefits from improved food environments with reduced trans-fat exposure.

WHO has set specific criteria for countries to be validated for trans-fat elimination:

  • Implementation of a mandatory national limit of 2 grams of iTFA per 100 grams of total fat in all foods.
  • Adoption of a mandatory national ban on the production or use of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHO), which are a major source of trans-fat, in all foods.
  • Compliance with both the PHO ban and the iTFA 2% limit, ensuring a comprehensive approach to trans-fat reduction.
About Trans-Fat

Trans-fats are a type of unsaturated fat found in vegetable oils. There are two primary sources:

·       Naturally-occurring trans-fats are found in small amounts in dairy and meat products.

·       Industrially produced trans-fats are artificially created during the hydrogenation process and are commonly found in packaged foods, baked goods, and cooking oils.

·       Consumption of trans-fats has been strongly linked to non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and other health complications.

Regulatory Steps

India:

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched the Eat Right India Movement, aimed at promoting healthier food choices and lifestyles.
  • FSSAI mandated the declaration of trans-fat content on nutrition labels, providing consumers with essential information to make informed dietary decisions.

Global:

WHO’s REPLACE initiative outlines comprehensive strategies to reduce trans-fat consumption worldwide:

  • REviewing dietary sources of industrially produced trans-fat to identify key areas for intervention.
  • Promoting the replacement of industrially produced trans-fat with healthier alternatives.
  • Legislatively eliminating industrially produced trans-fat through policy implementation.
  • Assessing trans-fat content in the food supply to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • Creating awareness campaigns to educate the public about the negative health impacts of trans-fats.
  • Enforcing compliance with trans-fat reduction policies through regulatory measures and oversight.

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