Canada bans artificial trans fats after a majority of MPs voted in favor of this proposal a long time ago. Now, Health Canada will finally add partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fat in foods, to its “List of Contaminants and Other Adulterant Substances in Foods.”
The partially hydrogenated oils are used in the manufacture of pastries, other bakery products, and certain packaged products to extend their lifespan. However, they increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, in the blood, while lowering high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol levels.
“This is a very important milestone in nutrition policy in Canada,” said Manuel Arango, Director of Health Policy and Advocacy at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “This means that industry will no longer be able to manufacture or use partially hydrogenated oils that create artificial trans fats in the food supply,” he added.
Canada followed the United States example and banned artificial trans fats
A year ago, the Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor informed the food industry that a ban would be imposed, giving them time to find solutions. The prohibition will apply to all food produced for sale within the country but is also aimed towards imported products and food prepared and served in restaurants.
Artificial trans fats are made when hydrogen is added to the liquid vegetable oil, giving it a solid consistency. They are generally used in delicious foods such as pastries, french fries, doughnuts, and popcorn, among others. However, they can have an adverse effect on the heart health.
Following the announcement made by the United States regarding a trans fats ban in 2015, which came in force earlier this year, Justin Trudeau asked his Minister of Health to look at stricter regulations. Now, that demand turned into a real law against trans fats.
Although trans fats levels have dropped lately, there are still many foods containing these nocive fatty acids, and even after the ban, the artificial trans fats will not immediately vanish as they will still be present in the foods already produced that are on store shelves across the country.