WHO unveils new certification recognizing countries that have eliminated trans-fats

GLOBAL – The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a new certification programme to recognise countries that have eliminated industrially produced trans-fatty acids (TFA) from their national food supplies.

According to the global health body, TFA is a risk factor for noncommunicable diseases and increased intake (>1% of total energy intake) is associated with coronary heart disease events and premature death.

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Industrially produced TFA is used in baked and fried foods, pre-packaged snacks, and certain cooking oils and fats that are used at home, in restaurants or in street food.

Replacing it with healthier oils and fats is cost effective, life-saving, and feasible without changing the taste of food or its cost to the consumer.

WHO says that the proposed certification programme for TFA elimination is essential in establishing accountability among countries.

The programme also aims to accelerate global progress towards the organisation’s goal of eliminating industrially produced TFA by 2023.

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WHO previously issued guidance to countries that recommends countries to either limit industrially produced TFA to 2g per 100g of total fat in all fats, oils and foods; or ban the production and use of partially hydrogenated oils.

To qualify for certification under the new programme, countries must demonstrate that one of the policy options has been implemented and that effective monitoring and enforcement systems are in place.

Today, countries are responding to WHO’s call to action and many have passed and implemented best-practice policies.

Currently best-practice TFA policies have come into effect in 14 countries (covering 589 million people) and additional 26 countries have passed a best-practice TFA policy that will come into effect in the next two years (covering additional 815 million people).

WHO estimates that, in the next two years, approximately 1.4 billion people will be protected from industrially produced TFA.

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