OTTAWA, ONT. — Health Canada is seeking comment from citizens and industry stakeholders regarding a proposed ban on partially hydrogenated oils (phos) in foods. The agency oversees national public health policy in Canada. Comments will be accepted until June 21, 2017.
“Through the Healthy Eating Strategy, our government is working to make the healthier choice the easier choice,” said Minister of Health Jane Philpott. “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.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2015 determined that there no longer is a consensus among qualified experts that phos, the primary dietary source of industrially produced trans fatty acids, are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for any use in human food. Food companies have until June 18, 2018, to remove phos from their products in the United States.
In announcing the proposed legislation, Health Canada acknowledged that Canadians are consuming fewer trans fats today. However, the agency said more needs to be done to reduce Canadians’ intake of trans fats. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada, resulting in approximately 50,000 deaths in 2012, according to Health Canada data.
Health Canada said eliminating trans fats in all foods sold in the country “is a significant and final step” in the agency’s efforts to reduce trans fats in the Canadian food supply “to the lowest possible level.” The ban would go into effect one year later after the regulation is finalized, Health Canada said.
Additionally, the ban is a key component of the agency’s Healthy Eating Strategy, a national initiative that aims to improve the availability of information on healthy eating; strengthen labelling and health claim requirements; improve the nutritional quality of foods while increasing access to and availability of nutritious foods’ and protect vulnerable populations.