A new initiative launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) has the potential to save millions of lives from the dangers of unhealthy food.
On Monday, WHO outlined a plan that will urge governments around the world to eliminate trans fats from ingredients lists by 2023, which would save roughly 10 million people from preventable deaths.
Industrially-produced trans-fats have long been valued for their inexpensive price tag and resilient shelf life. According to WHO, the ingredient is commonly “found in baked and fried foods (e.g. doughnuts, cookies, crackers and pies), pre-packaged snacks and food, and partially hydrogenated cooking oils and fats which are often used at home, in restaurants, or in the informal sector, such as street vendors.”
Additionally, trans fats have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which was the number one leading cause of the world’s noncommunicable deaths in 2016.
WHO’s new set of guidelines, which are currently available for public comment until June 1st as they undergo peer review, were created as a means of encouraging international policy makers to pass legislation that will limit trans fat intake for children and adults.
According to The New York Times, the guidelines were created in collaboration with Vital Strategies, a health organization that is backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also passed America’s first municipal ban on trans fats in 2006.
“If the world replaces trans fats, people won’t taste the difference, food won’t cost more, but your heart will know the difference,” former New York City health commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden told The Times.