OTTAWA -- Consuming trans fats increases a person's risk of heart disease. In the 1990s, Canadians had one of the highest intakes of trans fats in the world. Although we consume fewer trans fats today, more needs be done to reduce Canadians' trans fat intake. That's why Health Canada is introducing a regulatory proposal to prohibit the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs)—the main source of industrially produced trans fats—in food to help protect the health of all Canadians.
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PHOs are the primary source of industrially produced trans fats in the food supply. Trans fats are unhealthy because they can lead to an increased risk of heart disease by raising "bad" (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and lowering "good" (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels in the blood. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada, resulting in approximately 50,000 deaths in 2012. Studies have shown that the risk of heart disease substantially increases when the consumption of trans fats increases.
A Notice of Proposal detailing the proposed regulation has been posted online to seek comments from Canadians, including stakeholders. Comments will be accepted from April 7 to June 21, 2017.
Prohibiting the use of PHOs in all foods sold in Canada represents a significant and final step in Health Canada's efforts to reduce trans fats in the Canadian food supply to the lowest possible level. This builds on previous measures, which include mandatory nutrition labelling of trans fats and setting voluntary maximum limits for these fats in processed foods.
Once the regulation is finalized, the prohibition would come into effect one year later to provide manufacturers time to reformulate their products.
Eliminating PHOs from the Canadian food supply is an important part of Canada's Healthy Eating Strategy, which aims to make the healthier choice the easier choice for all Canadians. The Strategy aims to improve the availability of information on healthy eating, strengthen requirements for labelling and health claims, improve the nutritional quality of foods, protect vulnerable populations, and support increased access to and availability of nutritious foods.
"Through the Healthy Eating Strategy, our government is working to make the healthier choice the easier choice. By prohibiting partially hydrogenated oils, we are removing the largest source of industrial trans fats from Canada's food supply and helping reduce the risk of heart disease," said Jane Philpott Minister of Health.
The Healthy Eating Strategy is a component of the vision for a healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.
Health Canada's proposed prohibition is consistent with global efforts to eliminate trans fats in foods. It would help achieve the World Health Organization's public health recommendation that trans fats contribute less than 1% of total energy intake.
SOURCE Health Canada
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