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.
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.
- 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.
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.