Mexico City, 17 July, 2019.- Government officials from 8 countries are participating in Mexico City a two day workshop to develop a roadmap to eliminate trans-fats of industrial origin that are usually found in ultra-processed foods, bakery goods, and poor-quality oils. The Workshop on regulatory mechanisms to eliminate industrially produced trans fatty acids from the food supply in the Region of the Americas. The workshop has been held 17-18 July, organized by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).
Globally, approximately 540,000 deaths each year are attributable to consumption of industrially produced trans-fatty acids (IP-TFA), 160,000 of them occurring in the Americas. High trans-fat intake increases the risk of death from any cause by 34% and from coronary heart disease by 28%.
Attendees of the event include Mexican authorities from theUndersecretariat of Prevention and Promotion of Health, the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), the National Center for Preventive Programs and Disease Control (CENAPRECE); as well as government officials who oversee food regulation and/or establish nutrition parameters for consumption in different countries of the Region of de Americas; staff from the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ); and representatives from the initiative Resolve to Save Lives; Global Health Advocacy Incubator; Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP); PAHO staff; among others. The attendees are discussing existing and possible policy options and regulatory pathways to eliminate IP-TFA from the food supply.
Efforts from PAHO around IP-TFA elimination started back in 2008 with the Declaration of Rio, in which the food industry made a commitment to remove this substance from its products; While significant progress has been made, elimination has not been achieved and an important lesson learned was that voluntary measures were not enough.
Currently, only 6 countries in the Region of the Americas are following WHO’s recommendation around IP-TFA which include limiting its content to no more than 2% in all foods and/or ban partially hydrogenated oils (a major source of IP-TFA). Details about WHO’s recommendation are included in its REPLACE action package, which is a step-by-step guideline on legislation, monitoring, enforcement and other aspects of regulatory measures.
To help the Americas eliminate these harmful substances, PAHO has developed a Regional Plan of action for the elimination of IP-TFA from the food supply 2020-2025 which was unanimously adopted by its Executive committee this past June and will be presented at the Directing Council in September.
– REPLACE trans fat (WHO)