USA – Agricultural commodities trader, Cargill has committed to removing industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (iTFAs) from its entire global edible oils portfolio in an effort to improve consumer diets.  

Over the last 25 years, Cargill has removed an estimated one billion pounds (nearly 500,000 metric tons) of iTFAs from the global food supply. 

With this commitment, the company will now achieve 100% compliance, including in countries where there currently is no legislative mandate.  

To achieve this final 11%, the company is significantly investing in upgrades at several facilities to reduce the amount of iTFAs produced during the oil manufacturing process.

It is also leveraging decades of innovation expertise to provide food customers alternative formulations that will help them meet the WHO best practice. 

According to Cargill, the transition will help it and its customers comply with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended standard. 

The standard recommends a maximum of two grams of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA) per 100 grams fats/oils by the end of 2023. 

US multinational beverage giant PepsiCo, a key customer of Cargill, was happy with the announcement.  

“We are thrilled to see Cargill’s commitment to reduce iTFAs in all of their oils, in service of the World Health Organization’s goal to phase iTFAs out of the food supply,” said René Lammers, Executive Vice President, and Chief Science Officer, PepsiCo.  

“This move aligns with PepsiCo’s efforts to reduce iTFAs in our foods and is a crucial part of our pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) journey to evolve our food and beverage portfolio to be better for the planet and people.” 

Eliminating iTFAs would be timely as their detrimental effects on health are no longer disputed. 

According to a report published by the European Parliament, a daily intake of 5 gr of ITFA is proved to increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by 23%. 

CHD is the most common cause of death in the EU, accounting for over 680 000 deaths every year, and is estimated to cost the EU EUR 60 billion yearly. 

WHO’s REPLACE initiative provides a guide for governments and industry to implement a best practice on iTFA in the global food supply chain to address related health concerns.  

With this announcement, Cargill becomes the first edible oils supplier to make this commitment. 

“Even as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that worldwide, improving nutrition remains a top concern,” said David Webster, leader of Cargill’s food ingredients and bioindustrial enterprise and chief risk officer.  

“This commitment aligns with our purpose to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.” 

The agricultural commodities giant joins many of the world’s largest food companies and members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) who have committed to the WHO goal. 

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