Use of trans fats in food products now banned

Use of trans fats in food products now banned

"Health Canada's ban on partially hydrogenated oils in the food supply is part of the Government of Canada's action to help protect Canadians from diet-related chronic disease". This doesn't seem to be true for the natural occurring trans fat found in meat and dairy products.

Partially hydrogenated oils, a type of unsaturated fatty acid, are the result of the chemical process which turns liquid vegetable oil into solid fats.

Canada put a ban on artificial trans fats into effect September 17, with Health Canada adding partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fats in foods, to its "List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances".

"With the ban of trans fats what's being predicted is that we would save 12,000 people having a heart attack over the next 20 years", she said.

The ban makes it illegal for manufacturers to add artificial trans fats to their products and the rule will apply to all foods produced for sale in the country, including imported products and foods prepared and served in restaurants and foodservice establishments, reported CBC (Sept. 16).

Instead, it introduced mandatory trans fat labelling, set voluntary targets for processed foods, and set up a monitoring program to measure industry's progress toward meeting the voluntary targets.

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Food labels must list trans fats contained in product.

The ban was originally announced past year in order to give time for manufacturers to adapt to the change, and the ban includes both Canadian and imported foods, as well as those prepared in all food service establishments. We now know that trans fats raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol in the blood, and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good", cholesterol.

"This is a very important milestone in terms of nutrition policy in Canada", said Manuel Arango, the director of health policy and advocacy at the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "It will be completely prohibited in Canada".

Naturally, Canadians were not excited about losing their favourite snacks and meals over a country-wide band they had no control over.

As of today, trans fats are off the menu in Canada. Retailers will be given a grace period of up to three years to clear the inventory already on store shelves.

For years, the oils were used in the production of baked goods because they extended a product's shelf life. You may be able to help change these cooking practices by asking your server, the chef, or manager if the establishment uses only trans fat-free oils and foods.

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