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WHF joins WHO call on food industry to eliminate artificial trans fat

08 May 2019

Along with Resolve to Save Lives, NCD Alliance, and the American Heart Association, WHF has added our voice to the WHO’s call for industry to replace artificial trans fat by directly calling on dozens of major food, fat, and oil industry players to commit to elimination by 2023. The below letter was sent on 1 May to 93 of the largest global fats/oils and foods manufacturers and restaurant companies in the world.


1 May, 2019

Dear fats, oils and food manufacturers and restaurant companies,

We write to urge companies to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of eliminating industrially-produced trans fat from the global food supply by 2023. Industrially-produced trans fat is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, is fully replaceable by healthier oils and fats, and elimination won’t change the taste of food. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus has called on the fats, oils and food industries to join the global effort to replace industrially-produced trans fats with healthier products by 2023.

We congratulate the food industry on substantial progress moving from partially hydrogenated oils to healthier oils, particularly in countries such as the U.S. and Denmark that have successfully restricted or eliminated industrially-produced trans fat. But much more needs to be done. Worldwide, consumption of industrially-produced trans fat is estimated to be responsible for more than 500,000 deaths from coronary heart disease each year. Eliminating industrially-produced trans fat is one of the most effective ways to save lives and create a healthier food supply.

Together, along with the organizations we lead – Resolve to Save Lives, NCD Alliance, American Heart Association, and World Heart Federation – we call on companies to commit to and meet the WHO goal of full elimination. To maximize the public health benefit, we ask that companies invest in and choose replacement oils that maintain functionality while reducing the overall level of saturated fatty acids. To assess progress toward the 2023 goal, Resolve to Save Lives and others are monitoring the change in the worldwide supply of industrially-produced trans fat and will make the assessment public. We encourage the food industry to consider the potential reputational and other risks associated with continued use of industrially-produced trans fat.

In 2018, the WHO released the REPLACE Action Package to guide the global elimination of industrially-produced trans fat, including policy action and support for the use of healthier replacement oils and fats. We are committed to supporting this work and hope you will join us.

We ask companies to commit to fully eliminating industrially-produced trans fat from your products by 2023 or before. To discuss making a commitment by June 28, 2019, contact Lindsay Steele at Public commitments that support meeting the WHO goal will be listed on the WHO webpage. We look forward to working with you to replace industrially-produced trans fat, saving millions of lives.

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, President and C.E.O., Resolve to Save Lives
Katie Dain, C.E.O., NCD Alliance
Nancy Brown, C.E.O., American Heart Association
Jean-Luc Eiselé, C.E.O., World Heart Federation