Industry works to eliminate global trans fat

Tuesday, 14 May, 2019

Industry works to eliminate global trans fat

Members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) have recently enhanced their commitment to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of phasing out industrially produced trans fat (iTFA) from the global food supply by 2023.

IFBA explained that its members, 12 of the largest global food and beverage companies, have made progress in their efforts to remove iTFA from their products over the last few years. At the end of 2018, members had achieved their 2016 commitment to reduce iTFAs to nutritionally insignificant levels (less than 1 g of fat per 100 g of product) across 98.5% of their products worldwide.

At a meeting hosted by WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier this month, representatives discussed how to eliminate industrial trans fats and reduce salt, sugar and saturated fats in processed foods. IFBA members have pledged a maximum iTFA threshold in food products not exceeding 2 g of iTFA per 100 g of fat or oil by 2023, and this includes McDonald’s, which was not part of the 2016 commitment. 

WHO welcomed this increased commitment and explained it is in line with its REPLACE recommendations, launched in 2018. “Eliminating industrially produced trans fat is one of the simplest and most effective ways to save lives and create a healthier food supply,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.

In support of both WHO guidelines recommending a maximum 1% total energy intake from all trans fat and an intake of saturated fat not exceeding 10% of total energy intake, IFBA members will also aim to avoid increases in saturated fat content in reformulation efforts to meet this commitment.

“Working closely with the WHO under Dr Tedros’s leadership, the CEOs of IFBA have made a strong commitment on industrially produced trans fats. This is a demonstration of effective partnerships, leveraging the authority of WHO and the scale and commitment of the private sector for tangible public health outcomes,” said Rocco Renaldi, IFBA Secretary-General. “We hope our commitment inspires our suppliers and partners along the value chain to join us too. We will share our know-how with governments, civil society and the broader industry to ensure that the objective can be met by all food manufacturers in all countries.”

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