Cargill meets 2021 commitment; removes iTFA from fats and oils even in countries without legislative mandates

As of Jan. 1, 2024, every Cargill food customer, no matter where they are in the world, can be confident that the company’s fats and oils comply with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended maximum tole-rance level for industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA) in fats and oils. Cargill has achieved this milestone by becoming the first global supplier whose entire worldwide edible oils portfolio meets the WHO’s best practi-ce standard on iTFAs, limiting iTFA content to no more than two grams per 100 grams of fats/oils, including in countries where there is currently no legislative mandate.

While Cargill announced its commit-ment to removing iTFAs from its fats and oils portfolio in December 2021, the achievement reflects decades of work. The company’s iTFA journey spans more than a quarter century including early innovation, millions of dollars of investments in capital ex-penses and resources, and thousands of R&D hours. Along the way, Cargill has helped more than 400 customers create nutritious and tasty products that contribute to happier, healthier lives, removing more than 1.5 billion pounds of products containing iTFAs from the global food supply.

“We’re pleased to see Cargill’s conti-nued commitment to reduce industri-ally produced trans fats in all their oils, recently achieving their goal to align with the World Health Organization’s recommended standards,” says René Lammers, PepsiCo’s chief science of-ficer. “This move aligns with PepsiCo’s successful reduction of iTFAs in our foods to meet this same standard, and we encourage our fellow industry part-ners to join us in this important initia-tive to evolve our food and beverage portfolio to be better for the planet and people.”

In the past two years alone, Cargill has invested an additional $8.5 milli-on to upgrade facilities to reduce the amount of transfat produced during oil processing, while working closely with more than 100 additional cus-tomers in two dozen countries to re-formulate new product solutions that meet their needs. 

iTFAs are most often formed through the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils (PHOs) but can also be created by high thermal treatment during edible oil refining. In 2018, the WHO called for the global elimination of iTFAs by 2023, noting that trans fats intake gre-ater than 1 percent of total energy in-take is associated with coronary heart disease events and mortality. 

„We’re extremely proud that we’ve met our commitment and helped ful-fill our purpose — nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” said Natasha Orlova, Cargill vice president for edible oils and managing director for North America. “Taking this industry-leading step, even in countries without current iTFA legisla-tion, helps ensure consistency in their supply chain for larger food manufac-turers, while offering Cargill’s breadth of innovation and experience to smal-ler manufacturers.” 

To ensure compliance, Cargill has ad-ded iTFAs to its larger food safety and quality assurance program. This sys-tems-based approach includes multi-ple layers of monitoring, compliance and auditing.

In its latest progress report, the WHO noted that policies limiting the use of iTFAs have only been implemented in 60 of the world’s countries, covering approximately 43% of the global po-pulation. This leaves the majority of the world’s consumers at risk for con-tinued iTFA consumption. The report called on major suppliers of oils and fats to “follow the pioneering effort of Cargill to remove industrially pro-duced TFA from the products that are sold to food manufacturers globally.”1


1 “Countdown to 2023: WHO Report

 on Global Trans Fat Elimination,” World Health Organization, 2022. Download


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