NEW YORK — The World Health Organization is calling on all nations to rid foods of artificial trans fats in the next five years.
The United Nations agency has in the past pushed to exterminate infectious diseases, but now it’s aiming to erase a hazard linked to chronic illness.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was expected to issue the call to action at a news conference in Geneva on Monday.
Officials think it can be done in five years because the work is well underway in many countries. Denmark did it 15 years ago, and since then the United States and more than 40 other higher-income countries have been working on getting the heart-clogging additives out of their food supplies.
The WHO is pushing middle- and lower-income countries to pick up the fight, said Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.
Artificial trans fats are unhealthy substances that are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it solid, like in the creation of margarine or shortening. Health experts say they can be replaced with canola oil or other products.