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Countries awarded by WHO for eliminating trans fats

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is partnering with the not-for-profit organisation Resolve to Save Lives to develop and implement the REPLACE action package, which is aimed at providing countries with a framework for eliminating industrially produced trans fat from their national food supplies. As part of their progress in this endeavor, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand have been recognized for their achievements in this area. These countries have shown strong results during the first five years of the REPLACE initiative, demonstrating best practice policy for the elimination of industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA).

In recognition of their progress in this endeavor, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand have been awarded certificates validating their achievements. The WHO released figures showing strong results from these countries, and noted that the first five years of the REPLACE initiative they had demonstrated best practice policy for the elimination of industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA).

According to Dr. Renu Garg, Senior Vice President, Cardiovascular Health at Resolve to Save Lives, “WHO determined the validation awards were a great way to demonstrate the progress we’ve made toward global trans fat elimination. Since the launch of the REPLACE initiative, half the world’s population is protected from this toxic chemical in their foods.”

Trans-fatty acids (TFA) are semisolid to solid fats that occur in two forms, with the industrially produced type linked to serious health problems such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Although the food industry has reduced the use of industrially produced trans-fatty acids in food production, they are still found in many fried, packaged, and processed foods. The WHO has recommended the implementation of best practice policies to tackle iTFA in food, which involves instituting either a mandatory national limit of two grams of industrially produced trans-fatty acids per 100 grams of total fat in all foods or a mandatory national ban on the production or use of partially hydrogenated oils as an ingredient in all foods.

The WHO’s 2018 goal of completely eliminating industrially produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply by 2023 was not achieved, but significant progress was made towards that goal. The organization is continuing its efforts and has proposed a new target set for 2025. The WHO anticipates that its policies will save approximately 183,000 lives a year.

Despite recent successes in eliminating industrially produced trans-fatty acids from food globally, over half of the world’s population remains unprotected from its harmful impacts. Dr. Renu Garg has emphasized that trans fat elimination is feasible and saves lives at virtually no cost to governments or consumers. More countries are urged to adopt policies to eliminate trans fat, and prioritize this issue in their food supply. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also urged other countries to follow the lead of Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, who are leading the world in monitoring and enforcing their trans fat policies.

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