Industrially produced trans-fats are found in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine, and often in snacks, baked and fried foods.
Trans-fatty acids can also occur naturally in meat and dairy products from ruminant animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats, etc).
The WHO recommends that no more than 1 percent of a person's calories come from trans fats.
The method of cooking leads to trans fats in one's food and experts have suggested keeping a check on the same.
The WHO on Tuesday released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply. What is new is the World Health Organization global initiative to tackle a non-communicable disease, said Frieden, presently the President and Chief Executive of Resolve to Save Lives (an initiative of non-profit organisation Vital Strategies), involved with implementing the World Health Organization campaign. The U.S. now has a ban in place going into effect next month.
Trans-fats are used to give longer or more flavor to food.
In the Indian context, the World Health Organization has termed ghee as a trans fat laden food, despite mounting evidence on the "good fat" in it. "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". They used them in such fare as doughnuts, cookies and deep-fried foods.
The step by step plan that WHO has just unveiled could spell a big difference in the world's health by that time, as the agency estimates that getting rid of trans fat would prevent 500,000 deaths per year from diseases linked to cholesterol and cardiovascular conditions. Reportedly, some of the countries across the globe have banned the use of partially hydrogenated oils, which are the key sources of trans-fats. In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, they can raise the levels of bad cholesterol in the body while lowering the levels of good cholesterol.
Many manufacturers cut back, and studies showed trans fat levels in the blood of middle-aged US adults fell by almost 60 percent by the end of the decade. FDA officials have not said how much progress has been made or how they will enforce their rule against food makers that don't comply.
Eliminating these fats is the "key to protecting health and saving lives", it said, in a statement. He further stated that implementing the six strategies in the REPLACE plan will help in eliminating the prevalence of trans-fat, thereby signifying a pivotal victory for WHO's initiative to combat cardiovascular ailments.