Health Canada calls for trans fat limits, gives deadline

by Jeff Gelski
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OTTAWA — Health Canada is calling on Canada’s food industry to limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft spreadable margarine to 2% of the total fat content and to limit the trans fat content of all other foods to 5%, including ingredients sold to restaurants. Health Canada in effect followed and adopted the recommendation of the Trans Fat Task Force, a group led by Health Canada in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

"We are giving industry two years to reduce trans fat to the lowest levels possible as recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force," said Health Minister Tony Clement in a June 20 announcement. "If significant progress has not been made over the next two years, we will regulate to ensure the levels are met."

Health Canada plans to monitor industry actions over the next two years.

"Health Canada’s adoption of the Trans Fat Task Force recommendations is an important step toward the elimination of processed trans fat in our foods," said Sally Brown, chief executive officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and co-chair of the Task Force. "But we cannot be complacent. We need to ensure that industry continues to work to meet the Task Force’s recommendation."

The Food and Drug Administration requires all food products and dietary supplements bearing a Nutritional Facts Panel to list trans fat content, but no limit is set on trans fat content. The American Heart Association recommends consumers keep their daily trans fat intake under 1% of their overall energy intake.

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