Elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply has been identified as one of the priority targets of WHO’s strategic plan. 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. Healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food. “WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply,”said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply.
Some governments have already implemented nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced trans fats. Denmark was the first country which imposed restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats and cardiovascular disease deaths declined. New York City eliminated industrially-produced trans fat a decade ago. 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. WHO recommends that the total trans fat to be limited to less than 2.2 g/day with a 2,000-calorie diet. Diets high in trans fat increase heart disease risk by 21% and deaths by 28%.