Canada’s ban on industrial trans fats comes into effect

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Canada’s ban on partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the largest source of industrially produced trans fat in foods, comes into effect today, making it illegal for manufacturers to add PHOs to foods sold in Canada.

The ban was originally announced last 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.

This ban includes a two-year phase-in period, during which products containing PHOs can continue to be sold, as long as they were manufactured before 17 September 2018.

Trans fats raise ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, which can raise the risk of heart disease, and also reduce blood levels of ‘good’ cholesterol, which helps to protect against heart disease.

The implementation of the ban is consistent with global efforts to reduce consumption of trans fats across the world.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called for the elimination of artificial trans fats from the global food supply chain by 2023 in a move to combat cardiovascular disease.

The ban only applies to PHOs and not naturally occurring trans fats, which can be found in some animal-based foods, such as milk, cheese, beef and lamb.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s Minister of Health said: “As Minister of Health, I am very concerned with the rise in heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in Canada.

“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.”

Yves Savoie CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada added: “Heart & Stroke is thrilled to see the implementation of the ban on trans fats take effect.

“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.

“This measure is a critical component of the federal Healthy Eating Strategy.”