CSO, media asked to advocate elimination of Trans Fatty Foods

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media have been charged to spearhead conversations and become advocates of the elimination of Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs) foods in the country.

Trans- fatty acids are fats created during food preparation, and can also be found in snacks, baked or fried foods or oils used in the cooking at home, restaurants or by street vendors.

The CSOs and media were to educate and sensitise Ghanaians on the health effects of eating foods that contain TFAs.

Addressing participants at a capacity building and consultative workshop for CSOs and the media on the elimination of TFA in Ghana in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Benjamin Anabila, Director of the Institute of Leadership and Development (INSLA), noted that raising awareness on TFAs was essential as it would do more good than harm by saving lots of lives.

He added that advocacy for its elimination with the replacement of healthier oils and fats through the implementation of Ghana’s Public Health Act and the World Health Organisation (WHO) REPLACE Trans Fat Technical Package, in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, was necessary to curb if not eliminate TFAs.

Project Manager, INSLA, Mr Issah Ali, stated that ensuring TRAs were purged in the country were tied to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) two, three and twelve.

They included “end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”; “to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages” and “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” respectively.

Mr Ali said that the purpose of the REPLACE by WHO was to serve  as  a roadmap for countries to implement actions to reduce and eliminate industrially-produced Trans-Fatty Acids (iTFA).

He encouraged CSOs and the media to as a matter of urgency, put TFA elimination on the national agenda.

Mrs Hikimatu Tuntei-Ya Mohammed, Principal Nutrition Officer, Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the TFA had been identified as a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, which are major causes of deaths globally.

“Cardiovascular diseases, stroke, peripheral arterial diseases have become significant in the global public health and are now regarded as the number one cause of death worldwide,” she stated.

“In 2019, an estimated 17.9 million people died from cardiovascular diseases representing 32 per cent of global deaths,” she added.

Likewise, Dr Wallace Odiko-Ollennu, Deputy Programme Manager, Non-Communicable Diseases Control Programme, GHS, advised the general populace to keep their intake of TFAs as low as possible.

“Limit intake of packaged snacks, fast foods and other foods containing hydrogenated oils,” he added.

BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR AND ANITA ANKRAH

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