Food giants look to eliminate trans fats

Food giants including Nestlé, Unilever and McDonald’s, are looking to get rid of industrially produced trans fats (iTFAs) by 2023. The International Food & Beverage Alliance’s (IFBA) ambitious goal of eliminating trans fats from the global food supply comes after successful completion of their previous goal at the end of 2018, which aimed to reduce iTFAs worldwide. Now, an “enhanced worldwide commitment” will mean that the WHO’s recommendation of a maximum of iTFA in food products should not exceed two grams of iTFA per 100 grams of fat or oil. Around a year ago, the WHO launched a programme that looked at assisting countries in removing artificial trans fats from their food, eventually working towards their new goal of elimination in 2023.

According to the WHO, iTFAs are associated with over 500,000 deaths from coronary heart disease globally each year.

The IFBA believes that working together will be the only way that the goal will be reached. Although there are doubts that phasing iTFAs may produce competition amongst food giants, the IFBA believes that this is something that needs to be done—spanning across all sectors of the industry. Rocco Renaldi, the IFBA’s secretary-general, said, “This is viewed as pre-competitive. When you have WHO and the EU saying ‘that you need to phase [iFTAs] out,’ we don’t see it as a competitive issue.”

While 2023 may be an optimistic target in irradicating iTFAs globally, there is hope that it will be achieved, already having garnered support and momentum so far.