Canada’s ban on trans fats comes into effect today. It is now illegal for manufacturers to add partially hydrogenated oils, commonly known as trans fats, to foods sold in Canada. Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor talks with reporters after addressing the Canadian Public Health Association’s annual Public Health conference in Montreal on Thursday, May 31, 2018. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Canada bans use of trans fats in food products

Trans fats are know to cause heart disease

Canada’s ban on the main source of artificial trans fats came into effect Monday, making it illegal for manufacturers to use the additive in any food made or imported into the country, as well as in any meals prepared in restaurants.

The ban takes aim at partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, which are the main source of industrially produced trans fats in all foods sold in Canada. The new regulation applies only to PHOs, not naturally occurring trans fats, which can be found in some animal-based foods such as milk, cheese, beef and lamb.

Trans fats have been used for the last century to add taste and texture to food as a replacement for butter. They also extend the shelf life of many foods, including commercial baked goods like cookies, pastries, donuts and muffins, snack foods and fried foods.

But they are known to increase levels of “bad” cholesterol, raising the risk of heart disease.

The head of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, an organization that has long pushed for the removal of trans fats, said he is thrilled to finally see the ban implemented.

“This important and final step will eliminate these heart-clogging fats from our food supply, benefiting the health of all people in Canada by reducing the number of heart attacks and saving lives,” Yves Savoie said in a statement.

READ MORE: Make phys. ed. a priority to avoid ‘embarrassing’ gym classes: experts

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, killing tens of thousands of Canadians each year. Replacing trans fats in foods with unsaturated fatty acids, such as canola oil, decreases the risk of heart disease.

The federal government first unveiled the trans fat ban last year, but gave the food industry until now to adapt to the changes.

Any products containing trans fats can be sold for the next two years as long as they were manufactured prior to Monday, under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s enforcement strategy.

Ottawa obesity expert Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, who has been railing against artificial trans fats in Canada’s food supply for about two decades, is glad to see the legislated removal of the “deadly toxin,” but wonders why it took so long to enact.

The Trans Fat Task Force first recommended to the federal government in 2005 that the ingredient should be reduced in foods eaten by Canadians.

While Freedhoff believes the amount of products containing trans fats remaining on grocery store shelves will be relatively small, consumers should look at the ingredient list for the words “partially hydrogenated,” even if a product’s label says “trans fat-free” or “zero trans fats.”

That’s because under labelling laws, a product containing 0.2 grams of a partially hydrogenated oil can be called trans fat-free, he said Monday from Ottawa.

“So if it says partially hydrogenated, even if it says trans fats zero, it doesn’t mean that there are zero trans fats.”

Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Claire Rattée is a former Kitimat councillor

Pacific Traverse Energy to start community engagement

The company will reach out to key stakeholders

RCMP again warns public not to drink and drive

New legislation allows police to breathalyze with drivers’ consent

Rio Tinto donates $50K for Shames Mountain chairlift upgrades

The money was used to purchase the chairlift’s bull wheel replacement last summer

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Most Read