After more than a decade of promises, the Canadian government is now closer to its goal of banning artificial trans-fat in the diets of the population.
Health Canada has officially released a “Notice of Proposal” that will prohibit the use of mass produced PHOs (partially hydrogenated oils).
The oils found in food are said to be the main source of trans-fats. These trans-fats increase the levels of the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) in our bodies. These LDLs are what people call “bad cholesterol”. When this happens there will be more bad cholesterols in our body and a significant decrease of good cholesterol levels. This event can lead to many heart problems and can take a toll on the health of our circulatory system.
These oils are used in the production of much mass-produced foods. These include pastries, baked goods, as well as packaged food like canned goods. These oils are used to extend the shelf life of these goods.
They are used in the production of pastries, other baked goods and some packaged goods to extend shelf life.
According to Health Canada, “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.”
It is the aim of Health Canada to add oils to its growing “List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances in Foods.” The list includes other such items like petroleum jelly, which is now prohibited in the manufacture of foodstuffs.
However, a total ban on artificial trans fats has been something more of a pipe dream in Canada. Back in the 90s, when evidence was laid out on the negative effects of partially hydrogenated oils, Canada was among the list of having the biggest consumption of trans fats in the world.
And then back in 2004, a proposal was made by the NDP on the substance. The previous government had promised to take action but after a two-year deadline came and went nothing came to fruition. Now, parties have until June 21 to respond to Health Canada’s proposal.
According to Health Canada, its main goal is to cut the consumption of trans fats by the majority of the Canadian population by banning in from food production. According to studies, this ban could prevent about 12,000 heart attacks in the span of 20 years.
If the proposal will eventually be finalized the ban will take effect a year later. Within the given year food manufacturers will have to reformulate their products without PHOs.