REPLACE trans fat - NCDA WHA72 side event
© NCD Alliance | Gilberto Lontro

Nutrition Policy Action to Save Lives: Trans Fat Free by 2023

23rd May 2019

To accelerate progress towards the global elimination of trans fatty acids (TFAs) by 2023, NCD Alliance and its partner Resolve to Save Lives - an initiative of Vital Strategies - hosted a side event at the 72nd World Health Assembly on the elimination of TFAs on 22 May 2019.

As Dr Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, noted, industrially-produced trans fatty acids (TFA), common in baked goods, pre-packaged foods and some cooking oils, are a major contributor to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide, estimated to cause over half a million deaths every year. TFAs have no known health benefits and can be replaced in foods without impacting their consistency, taste and cost.

The NCD Alliance launched its report “Trans Fat Free by 2023: Case Studies in Trans Fat Elimination” at the side event. The report presents case studies of six countries in different regions of the world that have enacted policies to eliminate TFAs from their food supply. The report provides best practices, lessons learned, and recommendations based on the experience of policy-makers, advocates, and researchers who were involved in the TFA elimination efforts of the case study countries.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, highlighted the urgency of TFA elimination in the face of an ever increasing NCD burden. To achieve TFA elimination by 2023, the WHO produced new REPLACE resources, which were launched at the side event by Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition. The resources include implementation modules, global surveillance protocols, the first progress report counting down to global elimination by 2023, and a country scorecard/map.

Other speakers included Prof Shauna Downs of Rutgers University, who situated TFA elimination in the wider food system, calling for the need to complement TFA policies with strategies to incentives healthy oil production, food labelling policies and consumer awareness campaigns. Prof Igor Pravst of the Nutrition Institute, Slovenia, and Mr Faisal Bin Sunaid of the Food and Drug Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia described why their countries decided to act on TFAs, how they successfully implemented policies to eliminate TFAs from their food supplies and how they engaged with regional regulatory bodies (EU and GCC respectively).

Download the report of the side event here

Watch the video recording of the side event below:


Join us on Thursday 30 May 2019 for a webinar presenting proven strategies to advocate for and implement regulations to eliminate TFAs from the global food supply chain.