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World Trans-Fat Elimination

In News: A new status report from WHO has found that five billion people globally remain unprotected from harmful trans-fat, increasing their risk of heart disease and death.

More on World Trans-Fat Elimination

  • WHO first called for the global elimination of industrially produced trans-fat in 2018, with an elimination target set for 2023.
  • Since then the population coverage of best-practice policies has increased almost six-fold.
  • Despite substantial progress, about 5 billion people worldwide are at risk from trans-fat’s devastating health impacts with the global goal for its total elimination in 2023 remaining unattainable.

Key Findings of the Report

  • The consumption of trans fats, which can be found in packaged foods, baked goods, cooking oils and spreads, is responsible for up to half a million premature deaths from heart disease every year.
    • Trans-fats increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • 43 countries have now implemented best-practice policies for tackling trans-fat in food, with 2.8 billion people protected globally.
    • Many countries in America and Europe have phased the substance out with bans on partially hydrogenated oils.
    • However, no low-income countries have yet adopted such measures.
  • Currently, 9 of the 16 countries with the highest estimated proportion of coronary heart disease deaths caused by trans-fat intake do not have a best-practice policy.
    • These include Australia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Nepal, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea.
  • Trans-fat elimination policies follow specific criteria established by WHO and limit industrially produced trans-fat in all settings.
    • Mandatory national limit of 2 grams of industrially produced trans-fat per 100 grams of total fat in all foods;
    • Mandatory national ban on the production or use of partially hydrogenated oils as an ingredient in all foods.
Trans-Fat Elimination
Trans-Fat Elimination

About Trans-Fat

  • Trans-fats, or trans-fatty acids, are a form of unsaturated fat. They come in both natural and artificial forms.
  • Natural, or ruminant, trans-fats occur in the meat and dairy from ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. They form naturally when bacteria in these animals’ stomachs digest grass.
  • However, artificial trans-fats otherwise known as industrial trans-fats or partially hydrogenated fats are hazardous to health.
    • These fats occur when vegetable oils are chemically altered to stay solid at room temperature, which gives them a much longer shelf life.
  • Added trans-fats increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Trans-fats also have an unhealthy effect on cholesterol levels.
  • There are two main types of cholesterol:
    • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol can build up in the walls of arteries, making them hard and narrow.
    • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: HDL, or “good,” cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver.

Policies to Eliminate Trans Fat:

  • REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply was released by WHO.
    • REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply:


  • Eat Right Movement: Launched in 2018, the programme is built on two broad pillars of ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’.
  • Heart Attack Rewind: The objective of the campaign was to warn citizens about the health hazards of consuming trans-fats and offer strategies to avoid them through healthier alternatives.
  • Swachh Bharat Yatra: A Pan-India cyclothon, was launched under the movement to educate citizens on issues of food safety, combating food adulteration and healthy diets.
  • The FSSAI has stated that all food items should contain less than 2% of trans-fat from Jan 2022.

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According to WHO report how many peoples globally remain upprotected from harmful trans-fat?

A new status report from WHO has found that five billion people globally remain unprotected from harmful trans-fat, increasing their risk of heart disease and death.

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