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Food Safety Focus (143rd Issue, June 2018) – Food Incident Highlight

Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) through Replacing Industrially-produced Trans Fat

In mid-May, the World Health Organization released the REPLACE action package as a roadmap to eliminate industrially-produced trans fat from the global food supply by 2023. High trans fat intake increases the risk of CVDs through increasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while lowering HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Global elimination of industrially-produced trans fat can help achieve the goal of reducing premature death from noncommunicable diseases (e.g. CVDs) by one-third by 2030.

There are two main sources of trans fat: natural sources (in the dairy products and meat of ruminants, e.g. cows and sheep) and industrially-produced sources (their main source being partially hydrogenated oils, PHOs). PHOs are an ingredient in many foods, including margarine, fried foods and baked goods (e.g. biscuits and pies). Replacing diets high in trans fat with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat decreases the risk of CVDs. Consumers can make use of the trans fat information on nutrition labels when purchasing foods. Traders can choose healthier alternatives to replace ingredients containing industrially-produced trans fat.