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Supporting a Mandatory Trans Fatty Acid (TFA) regulation for the East African Community (EAC)

Background, Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of the project is to support the development a mandatory TFA national standard that could be adopted at the East African level

Specific Objectives

1)To build consensus among key decision makers (national and regional) for the development of a standard for EA regional TFA regulation by 2022.

2)To build media capacity for effective reporting on the dangers of TFAs and benefits of regulation.

3)To amplify voices of stakeholders in support of EA regional TFA regulation.

4)To counter and defeat TFA industry tactics.


Carried out CSOs, Political and other stakeholders’ mapping

  • MPs from the East Africa legislative Assembly oriented on promotion of laws that safeguard people from the foods that contain Trans-fatty acids;
  • UNHCO, WHO and Parliament agreed to harness synergies to advocate for elimination of Trans-Fatty Acids;
  • key players for the campaign mapped and this included

Uganda Manufactures Association, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Uganda Revenue Authority Uganda Bureau of Statistics, National Parliaments for policies and Regulation,  Parliamentary relevant Committees, CEFRONT, UHCA  among others

  • Participants urged UNHCO to put emphasis on awareness creation around the impacts of the fats and equip consumers and policy-makers with information to make better choices


Conducted a TFA Landscape analysis  for Uganda – 

http://unhco.or.ug/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2023/03/Uganda-TFA-Landscape-Analysis-UNHCO.pdf  – download the report here

  • Legal framework not fully compliant to international legal instruments empowering citizens to demand right to food or systems without TFAs
  • Uganda has a TFA legal gap to which has failed judicialisation and ;
  • Most laws regulating food are old or obsolete and cannot measure-up effectively eliminate TFAs
  • Preferred Pathway is National leading to a Regional Regulation – rooted in the Public Health Act and the Food and Drug Act which empower minister to make regulations
  • Selected policy option: Mandatory TFA national limit of 2grams of iTFAs per 100 grams of total fat in all food

Held engagements with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS)

  • UNBS clarified on the process required to pass the standards. Advised that the process is of a protracted nature 3months to 24 months
  • Necessary to generate the data to support our assertion
  • UNHCO was invited to provide input during the codex committee meeting on food labeling
  • UNHCO invited to make input in the National Standardization strategy
  • UNBS formally accepts partnership with UNHCO on TFA regulation process


Engaged stakeholders, including health workers and nutritionists on the need for TFA Regulation

  • Engaged a select number of health workers from Mulago National Referral Hospital, nutritionists and members of academia from Makerere University on the need for a TFA regulation.
  • Built their knowledge on the legal and policy bottlenecks toward regulating TFAs
  • Obtained buy-in from these stakeholders who pledged their active involvement in subsequent awareness activities and advocacy for a total ban of TFA’s

Mainstream Media Capacity Building and Engagement

  • Media collaboration on campaign to eliminate TFAs – through targeted awareness/orientation/capacity building of influential journalists in the country
  • The campaign has already earned champions and influencers in the media such as the New Vision Group and Dream TV that appreciate and regularly report on campaign activities


Public dialogues to support the need for TFA regulation

  • UNHCO reached out to different communities in Kampala area especially the local leadership, food vendors, students, parents, youth groups and business owners offering for sell edible oils and fats among others – – sensitizing them on dangers of TFAs

–Build a critical mass to support calls for a regulation

  • These communities are associated with daily consumption of edible oils and fats reach in TFAs.


Public dialogues to support the need for EA TFA regulation

  • Local leaders agreed to call on government to intervene immediately and ban bad fats and oils and promote local alternatives that are less harmful, and nutritious.
  • Also pledged to mobilize market food dealers and sensitize them on the dangers of the cooking oils and fats that they are using in food preparation.
  • Leaders pledged to sensitize the masses on the dangers of TFAs consumption and its aggressive marketing, and tactics that keep the most vulnerable especially children, students and slum dwellers hooked to consuming them.
  • Demanded fast tracking of regulation/standards that eliminate TFAs.


Continued delivery of the TFA Regulation Campaign through Digital Channels

  • Taking advantage of key calendar dates such as the “World Hypertension Day” to highlight the nexus between poor health and consumption of TFAs.
  • Taken the campaign to social media

–Both  facebook: facebook/unhco; and twitter: @unhco

–HashTag: #TrandFatFreeUG

  • Strengthened capacity to deliver an effective Digital Awareness Campaign on TFA Regulation – GHAI trained the Communications Officer
  • Facebook and twitter adverts have since boosted the online campaign

About Communications Officer

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