Members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) – including Nestlé, The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo – will aim to phase out industrially produced trans fats from their products by 2023.
At the end of 2018, IFBA members had met the target of their 2016 commitment to reduce industrially produced trans fats in their products to nutritionally insignificant levels (less than 1g of fat per 100g of product) across 98.5% of their products worldwide.
Now, they have committed to aligning their global standard with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation for a maximum industrially produced trans fats threshold in food products not exceeding 2g of industrially produced trans fats per 100g of fat or oil by 2023.
The announcement comes after WHO last year called for the elimination of artificial trans fats from the global food supply chain by 2023 in a move to combat cardiovascular disease. According to WHO, trans fat intake leads to the death of more than 500,000 people from cardiovascular disease each year.
Industrially produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods and fried foods. Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. But the WHO stressed that healthier alternatives can be used that do not affect the taste or cost of food.
Earlier this month, IFBA members took part in discussions with WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Rocco Renaldi, IFBA secretary-general, said: “Working closely with the WHO under Dr Tedros’s leadership, the CEOs of IFBA have made a strong commitment on industrially produced trans fats. This is a demonstration of effective partnerships, leveraging the authority of WHO and the scale and commitment of the private sector for tangible public health outcomes.
“We hope our commitment inspires our suppliers and partners along the value chain to join us too. We will share our knowhow with governments, civil society and the broader industry to ensure that the objective can be met by all food manufacturers in all countries.”
The move has been welcomed by WHO. Dr Tedros said: “WHO will be monitoring the next steps to be taken by companies to help ensure the commitment is realised.”
He added: “Eliminating industrially produced trans fat is one of the simplest and most effective ways to save lives and create a healthier food supply.”
Founded in 2008, IFBA has 12 members: The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg’s, Mars, McDonald’s, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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