HomeWorld5 billion people are not protected against trans fats

5 billion people are not protected against trans fats

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that “trans fatty acids kill people and it should be banned”, noting that five billion consumers are still not protected against these products which are dangerous to health.

This increases the risk of heart disease and death, warned the UN’s World Health Agency, which said the goal of eliminating industrial trans fatty acids, used in many widely consumed foods , is very far from being achieved.

According to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, “trans fats have no known benefits and pose enormous health risks that result in gigantic costs to healthcare systems.”

Quoted in a statement from the Organization, he urged to get rid of ” once for all ” death “toxic chemicals that kill”.

As a reminder, the WHO set itself the goal in 2018 of eliminating these trans fatty acids from the world diet by 2023, but in its progress report, published on Monday, the organization is obliged to recognize that this “is unattainable at present” even though “the population coverage of best practice policies has increased almost sixfold”.

500,000 deaths per year

Of the 60 countries that have planned some form of elimination of industrial trans fatty acids, only 43 have adopted best practices: either a mandatory limit so that they make up no more than 2% of oils and fats in all food products. This represents 2.8 billion people protected worldwide.

Industrial trans fatty acids are found in solidified vegetable fats, such as baked goods, cooking oils and spreads. Today, only 43% of the world’s population enjoys some form of protection against these products, which the WHO estimates cause heart disease responsible for 500,000 deaths a year.

For Dr. Tedros, “Eliminating trans fats is cost effective and has huge health benefits. Simply put, trans fats are a toxic, killing chemical, and they should have no place in the diet.”

However, there is sometimes a form of denial about the very existence of the problem. Currently, 9 of the 16 countries with the highest estimated proportion of coronary heart disease deaths caused by trans fat intake have not adopted the recommendations. These are Australia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and South Korea.

Nigeria: Good practices for eliminating trans fats

More broadly, the WHO recommends that countries focus on these four areas in 2023, namely adopting a policy of best practices, monitoring and surveillance, replacing healthy oils and raising awareness. WHO guidance has been developed to help countries make rapid progress in these areas.

The WHO also encourages food manufacturers to eliminate industrially produced trans fatty acids from their products. Major oils and fats suppliers are being asked to eliminate industrially produced trans fats from products sold to food manufacturers worldwide.

Although most trans fatty acid elimination policies have so far been implemented in high-income countries (mainly in the Americas and Europe), an increasing number of middle-income countries are implementing or are adopting these policies, including Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Paraguay, the Philippines and Ukraine.

Additionally, the WHO points out that Mexico, Nigeria and Sri Lanka are planning to take action in 2023. “If they are adoptedunderlines the WHO in its press release, Nigeria would be the second country in Africa and the most populous to put in place a policy of good practice for the elimination of trans fats”.



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