Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: Administrative Order 2021-0039: National Policy on the Elimination of Industrially Produced Trans-Fatty Acids for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases
Overview: The Philippines plans to eliminate all industrial-produced trans fats from its food supply by 2023.
Population: 112.2 million
Food policy category: Nutrition
Program goals: To improve heart health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases and premature mortality.
How it works: The order encompasses three main strategies:
- Regulating pre-packaged food products containing TFA.
- Enabling the replacement of TFA with alternative oils, fats, and oilseeds.
- Increasing awareness of the negative impacts of TFA to the public.
The manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of the following will be outlawed:
- Partially-Hydrogenated Oils (PHO) to be consumed alone or used in the preparation of processed foods.
- Oils and fats blended with PHO.
- Oils and fats with a trans-fatty acid (TFA) content of more than 2g per 100g.
- Processed and prepackaged food with PHOs and high TFA content.
Food establishments must provide factual nutritional information for all products sold, and prepackaged food manufacturers are prohibited from displaying TFA-free claims on food packaging.
If a manufacturer or distributor is found to be in violation of these regulations, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not provide that entity with their registration, permit, or license to operate. Processed food products that are found to be in violation of the above provisions will also have their Certificate of Product Registration revoked.
Progress to date: The administrative order was issued on June 18, 2021, and went into effect on July 6, 2021. The goal is to eliminate all trans fats from the food supply by 2023.
Why it is important: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that trans fats comprise less than one percent of an individual’s total energy intake. The consumption of trans fats is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and there are no known health benefits.
In the Philippines, noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes cause 68 percent of all deaths, and 29 percent of Filipinos will die before the age of 70 due to a noncommunicable disease.
Removing trans fats and replacing them with healthier fats and oils is a cost-effective way to improve health and reduce the risk of premature death.
Program/Policy initiated: The order went into effect on July 6, 2021.
Point of contact: N/A
Similar practices: Forty countries including India, Singapore, Ukraine, South Africa, Brazil, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the European Union have enacted trans fat elimination policies. The US has banned artificial trans fats since June 2018.
Evaluation: The policy has not yet been evaluated.
- More than 3 Billion People Protected from Harmful Trans Fat in Their Food (World Health Organization)
- Philippines Trans-Fat Ban: Policy Chiefs Issue New Guidelines and Ban On-Pack Claims Ahead of 2023 Changes (Food Navigator – Asia)
- Trans Fat-Free Philippines: Health Department Targets Eradication by 2023 (Food Ingredients First)
- Trans Fatty Acids and Lipid Profile: A Serious Risk Factor to Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer and Diabetes (Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews)
- Administrative Order 2021-0039: National Policy on the Elimination of Industrially Produced Trans-Fatty Acids for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (Philippines Department of Health)
- Artificial Trans Fats Banned in U.S. (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)
- Countries with Regulations Protecting People from Industrially Produced Trans Fat Tripled Over the Past Year (World Health Organization)
- DOH Promotes Filipinos’ Heart Health Amidst Pandemic, Prohibits Trans Fat in Pre-Packaged and Processed Food (Philippines Department of Health)
- Nutrition: Trans Fat (World Health Organization)
- Philippines Bans the Use of Trans Fat (USDA Foreign Agricultural Service)
- Trans Fats (American Heart Association)