WAYZATA, MINN. — Cargill announced on Dec. 6 that it has become the first global supplier to commit to eliminating industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFAs) from its entire global edible oils portfolio, a move that would put Cargill and its customers in compliance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended standard of a maximum two grams of iTFAs per 100 grams fats/oils by the end of 2023. Cargill joins many of the world’s largest food companies and members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance who have committed to the WHO goal.

“Even as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that worldwide, improving nutrition remains a top concern,” said David Webster, leader of Cargill’s food ingredients and bioindustrial enterprise and chief risk officer. “This commitment aligns with our purpose to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way and gives us the opportunity as a collective industry to remove iTFAs from the global food supply no matter where food is manufactured or consumed. We know this effort will take time, and we are eager to work with customers as they take this important step.”

The initiative is a next step for Cargill, which already has approximately 89% of its global edible oils portfolio in compliance with the WHO’s recommended standard. To achieve the final 11%, Cargill said it will “significantly” invest in upgrades at several facilities to reduce the amount of iTFAs produced during the oil manufacturing process. The company also said it will leverage decades of innovation expertise to provide food customers alternative formulations that will help them meet the WHO recommendations.

Over the last 25 years, Cargill said it has removed an estimated one billion lbs (nearly 500,000 tonnes) of iTFAs from the global food supply.

Industrially produced trans-fatty acids primarily are formed through the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils (PHO), but also may result from high thermal treatment during the refining process.

“We are thrilled to see Cargill’s commitment to reduce iTFAs in all of their oils, in service of the World Health Organization’s goal to phase iTFAs out of the food supply,” said René Lammers, executive vice president and chief science officer, PepsiCo, Inc. “This move aligns with PepsiCo’s efforts to reduce iTFAs in our foods and is a crucial part of our pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) journey to evolve our food and beverage portfolio to be better for the planet and people. Cargill is an important part of our supply chain and we look forward to working together to continue to accelerate progress toward our iTFA goals.”