SWITZERLAND – Global food and beverage companies and members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) have pledged to phase out industrially produced trans-fat from the global food supply by 2023.

The twelve food and beverage giants have agreed to adopt enhanced worldwide commitment to phase out industrially produced trans fats (iTFAs) from their products.

This further builds on the commitments they made in 2008 in line with the World Health Organization’s goal to promote the health of consumers.

WHO recommends a maximum 1% total energy intake from all trans-fat and an intake of saturated fat not exceeding 10% of total energy intake.

At the end of 2018, IFBA members said they had met the target of their 2016 commitment to reduce iTFAs in their products to nutritionally insignificant levels (less than 1 gram of fat per 100 grams of product) across 98.5% of their products worldwide.

They now target to align their global standard with WHO’s recommendation for a maximum iTFA threshold in food products not exceeding 2 grams of iTFA per 100 grams of fat or oil by 2023.

The new IFBA commitment includes McDonald’s, which was not part of the 2016 commitment.

The 12 members of IFBA are: The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg’s, Mars, McDonald’s, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

Tackling the global health burden

“Working closely with the WHO under Dr Tedros’ leadership, the CEOs of IFBA have made a strong commitment on industrially produced trans fats,” said Rocco Renaldi, IFBA Secretary-General.

“This is a demonstration of effective partnerships, leveraging the authority of WHO and the scale and commitment of the private sector for tangible public health outcomes.

“We hope our commitment inspires our suppliers and partners along the value chain to join us too.

“We will share our know-how with governments, civil society and the broader industry to ensure that the objective can be met by all food manufacturers in all countries.”

These efforts are in support of WHO’s call made last year, to eliminate trans fats in all food by 2023 in a bid to combat cardiovascular disease.

According to the WHO, trans fat intake leads to the death of more than 500,000 people from cardiovascular disease each year.

Industrially produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods.

Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats.

Last month, FoodDrinkEurope welcomed the adoption of new EU regulation limiting the use of industrial trans fats in foods.