OTTAWA — Canada’s ban on artificial trans-fats — which prohibits adding partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) to packaged foods and foods sold in restaurants — comes into effect this week, one year after the federal government announced it would be ending the use of the artery-clogging fats, reports CTV News.
The oils were traditionally used in the production of baked goods to extend a product’s shelf life. They were also used as frying oil for foods such as French fries. But research has repeatedly shown the fats can raise levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and lower levels of good cholesterol. The high consumption of trans-fats is thought to be responsible for thousands of cardiac deaths in Canada every year, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
The food industry had been voluntarily phasing out partially hydrogenated oils for years, but the federal government never imposed a ban. Instead, it introduced mandatory trans-fat labelling, set voluntary targets for processed foods and set up a monitoring program to measure the industry’s progress toward meeting the voluntary targets. Last year, Health Canada announced it was giving the food industry one year to phase the oils out completely.
The ban applies to all foods served in foodservice establishments, all packaged foods produced in Canada, as well as imported products. Trans-fats that occur naturally in some animal products are not part of the ban.