The SUN Business Network (SBN) / Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), in partnership with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) and supported by Resolve to Save Lives (an initiative from Vital Strategies), organised a two-day workshop in Karachi, Pakistan from 22-23 January 2020 focused on replacing industrially produced trans fatty acids (iTFAs) from food value chains.
Industry representatives from different oil-manufacturing and food-processing companies attended the workshop to discuss the current status of iTFAs along with the alternatives, opportunities and challenges in limiting them from national food supplies by 2023 – in accordance with the goals of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Government officials from different standard-setting and compliance organisations, including the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, and the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, also joined the workshop to encourage collective action in this regard.
The event provided a platform for the private sector to highlight industry initiatives in limiting iTFAs from food value chains, and efforts around promoting healthy consumer behaviours through marketing and branding. The private sector also shared constraints around limiting trans fats, such as confusing standards and definitional issues, as well as the inevitable formation of trans fats in certain industrial processes that can only be curbed with the availability of modern machinery requiring high capital investment. In response to this, experts from IFBA shared their expertise and knowledge on cost-effective iTFA replacement solutions available worldwide.
By the end of the workshop, the businesses were confident that the global commitments can be met by 2023 if there are joint efforts to limit iTFAs. Four companies signed the commitment form to limit production to 2 grams of iTFAs per 100 grams of fat/oil by 2023, while multiple other companies are considering signing it soon.