Kellogg’s, Grupo Bimbo and other IFBA members pledge to slash trans fats to meet WHO guidelines

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The IFBA members have pledged to reduce trans fats in their products. Pic: ©GettyImages/vasata
The IFBA members have pledged to reduce trans fats in their products. Pic: ©GettyImages/vasata

Related tags International Food and Beverage Alliance World health organisation Trans fats Mondelez Unilever Grupo bimbo Ferrero United nations

Members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) have undertaken to limit the use of industrial trans fat (iTFA) in their products by 2023.

Twelve of the world’s leading F&B companies – including Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg, General Mills, Mondelēz, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Danone, Ferrero, McDonald’s and Mars Wrigley – have agreed to not exceed 2g iTFA per 100g fat/oil in their products within the next five years.

The pledge is in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) overall objective of phasing out iTFA from the world’s food supply by 2023.

Annual death toll

According to the WHO, consumption of trans fats contributes to more than half a million deaths annually from heart disease.

The substance is found in hardened vegetable fats like margarine and gee, which are regularly used for their long shelf life in products like snacks and baked items.

In 2016, IFBA members – excluding McDonald’s – committed to phasing out partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), with an estimated 98.5% of member’s products meeting the target of 1g trans-fatty acid per 100g of product by the end of last year.

Now they have committed to align with the WHO’s guidelines, which recommend a maximum 1% total energy intake from all trans fat and an intake of saturated fat not exceeding 10% of total energy intake.

Effective partnership

“Working closely with the WHO under Dr Tedros’ leadership, the CEOs of IFBA have made a strong commitment on industrially produced trans fats,”​ said Rocco Renaldi, IFBA Secretary-General.

“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.”

The IFBA is calling on other players in the F&B sector to join the initiative.

The IFBA is a non-profit alliance of 12 multinational F&B companies that share a mission to empower consumers to eat balanced diets and live healthier lives. 

Since 2008, members are striving to implement commitments in support of the objectives of the WHO, including its Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health; marketing to children; and its Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.

The organization has special consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC).

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