Countries urged to wipe out killer trans fats from foods

Those nations, however, picked up the habit initially thanks to Western food conglomerates - trans fats do occur in tiny natural quantities in meat and cheese (they're therefore thought to be far less harmful), but in the 1950s they became an industrial product manufactured for margarine, shortenings like Crisco, packaged pastries, and almost anything fried. While trans fat can occur naturally in some meats and dairy products, it appears in industrial settings usually as margarine, a hardened fat that is caused by the addition of hydrogen to vegetable. There's not a good way to remove trans fats from natural foods, but food policy experts agree there's no place for artificially made trans fats in human diets.

The United States has already enacted some legislation against trans fats. "We welcome this action by the World Health Organization", said Rocco Renaldi, the group's secretary-general. Now it wants to rid the world of a hazard linked to chronic illness. "No one is addicted to trans fatty acids", said Dr. Stender, who was involved in the effort in Denmark. This includes the review of dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.

Today, the World Health Organization has announced that trans fats will no longer be used around the world by 2023. In 2006, New York City banned restaurants from serving food cooked with trans fats, at the same the FDA began requiring manufacturers to list trans fat content on food labels.

"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".

Big Food dragged its feet on cutting back for years because it claimed that things like doughnuts, frosting, and frozen pizza wouldn't taste the same. A misconception that the products were healthier than butter or lard led to surge in popularity that peaked in 1950s, but studies gradually revealed a link between trans fats and risky cholesterol levels in the blood.

A ssess and monitor trans fats in food and changes in trans fat consumption.

WHO is calling on governments around the world to use its REPLACE action plan to swap trans fats for healthier options, which it says will not affect the taste or cost of food.

Trans fats are primarily used in fried foods like fries and doughnuts as well as in baked goods such as cakes, pies, biscuits, pizza, and cookies. In the developed parts of the world, trans fats are becoming rarer and rarer.

Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter, and became more popular in the 1950s through 1970s with the discovery of the negative health impacts of saturated fatty acids.

Vanessa Coleman

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