PAHO shows progress in reducing fatty acids in food, calls for protection of food industry policy-making
30 septiembre 2022


Trans fats. At the end of September, during the 30th Pan American Sanitary Conference organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the progress of the action plan to eliminate industrially produced fatty acids (IP-TFA) between 2020 and 2025 was analyzed. The plan consists of promoting regulatory measures to limit the presence of trans fats to 2% and eliminate partially hydrogenated oils in food production. In regulatory terms, the report reveals that at the regional level, countries such as Brazil, Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay have made regulatory progress in line with the proposal of the action plan in question. In addition, among the conclusions of the report, PAHO calls on health authorities to promote the development of policies that promote the reduction of fatty acids in foods and reduce the interference of the food industry in their preparation.

With respect to the progress of regulatory policies for the elimination of trans fats or their maximum limitation of 2% of the total content in foods, the report mentions that resolutions 332 and 514 of the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA in Portuguese) of Brazil and the trans fat reduction regulation of Peru show progress in the application of PAHO/WHO best practices in this area. Likewise, Paraguay and Uruguay enacted regulations on the subject that will come into full force in 2023 and 2022, respectively. The Mexican Chamber of Deputies held a forum in late September 2022 to promote a bill, already approved in the Senate in 2021, to eliminate trans fats in industrial production.

In turn, PAHO proposes in its report lines of recommendations to strengthen the implementation of the action plan in the region, including the expansion of technical and financial support from the international organization for the design of policies, their implementation and evaluation of compliance. It also urges support for countries to protect the design of public policies from interference by the food industry and other actors that could interfere with the development of the plan, to strengthen advocacy efforts aimed at Ministries of Health to disseminate the course of action to eliminate IP-TFA and to accelerate the adoption or reform of laws or regulations to adopt the practices and policies that PAHO sponsors.

Next Steps

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) releases its mid-term analysis report on compliance with the action plan to eliminate industrially produced fatty acids (IP-TFA) between 2020 and 2025. Thus, it recommends that health authorities in the region promote in their agendas the development of regulatory reforms with a view to eliminating fatty acids from industrial food production by 2025. The entity also informs that the next report on the subject will be carried out once the deadline for the execution of the action plan is over, and will be published as a final report by 2026.

Engagement Opportunities

With PAHO’s recommendation to encourage countries to limit the interference of the private sector in the development of public policies to reduce the presence of fatty acids in food, McDonald’s advocacy spaces could be reduced. However, as long as the Legislative or Executive Branch does not establish specific restrictions, private companies can still participate in the process of creating bills or regulations in public consultation, as long as the actors involved encourage the participation of multiple social actors.