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On Monday the World Health Organization, the public health arm of the United Nations, announced a new plan to eliminate trans fats worldwide.

This southern fried chicken was made in NY in 2006 with soy bean oil, a good substitute for trans fats.

The initiative is aimed at leading countries to the establishing of legislation that eliminates trans fats, said the WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development's director Dr. Francesco Branca in a statement released in Geneva. Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats, but healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food.

"We call on food producers in our sector to take prompt action and we stand ready to support effective measures to work toward the elimination of industrially produced trans fats and ensure a level playing field in this area", said Rocco Rinaldi, secretary-general of the International Food and Beverage Alliance.

"Trans-fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there's no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed", said Tom Frieden, a former head of the US Centers for Disease Control who now leads the Resolve health initiative. Moreover, the foods that still contain trans fats in the USA and Europe tend to disproportionately affect the poor, because foods containing trans fats tend to be cheaper. "Trans fatty foods became increasingly popular beginning in the 1950s, partly because experts at the time thought they were healthier than cooking with butter or lard", writes the Associated Press' Mike Stobbe for the Washington Post. "A comprehensive approach to tobacco control allowed us to make more progress globally over the last decade than nearly anyone thought possible - now, a similar approach to trans fat can help us make that kind of progress against cardiovascular disease, another of the world's leading causes of preventable death".

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.

Nutrition expert Dr. Marion nestle of New York University complained that World Health Organization was not using plain language to tell people about trans fats. There are also naturally occurring trans fats in some meats and dairy products.

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In certain countries, the risk is quite high.

But they can have harmful health effects, such as raising levels of LDL cholesterol and increasing risk of heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes. "The UK is lagging behind countries like Denmark", said Prof Capewell.

REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.

A ssess and monitor trans fats in food and changes in trans fat consumption.

Decades of studies have consistently shown that trans fats cause coronary artery disease, and some countries have already started to ban them.

E nforce compliance of new and existing policies and regulations.

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