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WHO releases REPLACE programme to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fat acids from food supply

World Health Organization (WHO) has released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply. WHO has estimated that every single year trans-fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease. Eliminating trans-fat is key to protecting health and saving lives.

Industrially produced trans-fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, which include margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods and fried foods. Manufacturers often use them to increase the shelf life. But healthier alternatives can be used that will not affect taste or cost of food. “WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as stated in the press release by WHO. “Implementing the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help achieve the elimination of trans-fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease.”
REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans-fats from the food supply. This is what REPLACE means:
• REview dietary sources of industrially produced trans-fats and the landscape for required policy change
• Promote the replacement of industrially produced trans-fats with healthier fats and oils
• Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially produced trans-fats
• Assess and monitor trans-fats content in the food supply and changes in trans-fat consumption in the population
• Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans-fats among policymakers, producers, suppliers and the public
• Enforce compliance with policies and regulations
According to WHO, several high-income countries have virtually eliminated industrially-produced trans-fat through legally imposed limits on the amount that can be contained in packaged foods. Some governments have implemented nationwide bans of partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially produced trans-fats.
Action is required in low- and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially produced trans-fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world.

Divya Patwal


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