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Transfats lead to over 5 lakh deaths a year: WHO

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Industrially produced trans fats are killers when they are consumed in food. The WHO is moving fast to eliminate their use.

More than 5,00,000 people die of cardiovascular disease every year globally, caused by consumption of tran fats mixed food items such as baked foods, snacks and fried foods. This has been informed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO has also released REPLACE, a guide for elimination of industry-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply that is harming the health of people.

REPLACE stands for review, promote, legislate, access, create and enforce that will provide actions to ensure the prompt, complete and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply.

The UN agency said that industrially-produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee.

The WHO pointed out that manufacturers often use trans fats because they have a longer shelf life than other fats. The WHO has recommended healthier alternatives that would not affect taste or cost of food.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO, has said that the WHO has called on nations to use the REPLACE action package to end industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply.

“It will help achieving the elimination of trans fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular diseases. Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?” asked Dr Ghebreyesus.

The WHO has informed that many high-income countries have eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legally imposed limits on the amount that can be contained in packaged food.

It said that some nations have implemented nationwide bans on especially hydrogenated oils which are the main source of industrially-produced trans fat.

Denmark is the first country which has mandated restrictions on industrially-produced trans fat. The action has resulted in the reduction of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases.

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