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Warning that trans fat kills, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged that the ‘toxic chemical’ be eliminated from food.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke as the WHO released a new report which found that five billion people globally remain unprotected from harmful trans fat, increasing their risk of heart disease and death.
WHO disclosed that since it first called for the global elimination of industrially produced trans fat in 2018 – with an elimination target set for 2023 – population coverage of best-practice policies has increased almost six-fold.
According to the organisation, forty-three countries have implemented best-practice policies for tackling trans fat in food, with 2.8 billion people protected globally.
But despite substantial progress, 5 billion worldwide are at risk from trans fat’s devastating health impacts.
As a result, a WHO release observed that the global goal for total elimination in 2023 still needs to be attained.
Industrially produced trans fat, also called industrially produced trans-fatty acids, is commonly found in packaged foods, baked goods, cooking oils and spreads.
Trans fat intake is responsible for up to 500 000 premature deaths from coronary heart disease each year around the world.
According to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, trans fat has no known benefits.
By contrast, Tedros explained that eliminating trans fat is cost-effective and has enormous health benefits.
“Put simply, trans fat is a toxic chemical that kills, and should have no place in food. It’s time to get rid of it once and for all,” the WHO Chief declared.