On September 15, 2017, Minister of Health Petitpas Taylor has announced governmental ban on partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in all foods sold in Canada. PHO is the primary dietary source for trans fats in processed foods.
Trans fat is a common ingredient in both Canadian and foreign food products, as well as those that are prepared and served in our restaurants.
Yves Savoie, Chief Executive Officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada says that “trans fats are still high in baked goods and other foods.” According to the CEO, this “important final step” of eliminating trans fats from the Canadian food supply will help to reduce heart diseases in Canada and save lives.
What are Trans Fats?
The name “trans” came from the “trans” chemical configuration of a fatty acid hydrocarbon chain.
Trans fats are not common in nature. They are produced industrially from a liquid vegetable oil, which transforms into a solid fat during the process called hydrogenation.
When soybeans began to be imported into the US in the early 20th century as a source of protein, soybean oil was a by-product. What to do with that oil became an issue. On the other hand, there was a shortage of butter. So, it was a perfect time for trans fat production: the method, the ingredients and the need were there.
Trans fats have been widely used in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods and frying fast food since the 1950s. They are often added to processed foods because they can improve taste and texture and helps the food stay fresh longer.
For more information you can go to: https://foodamo.com/what-are-trans-fats/
Health risks of trans fats
Trans fats raise “bad” (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and lower “good” (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels in the blood.
As it is stated in the governmental news release, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada, resulting in approximately 50,000 deaths in 2012. Studies have shown that the risk of heart disease increases substantially with higher consumption of trans fats.
Foods high in trans-fat
- Deep fried foods (spring rolls, chicken nuggets, frozen hash browns, French fries)
- Ready to eat frozen foods (quiche, burritos, pizza, pizza pockets, French fries, egg rolls, veggie and beef patties)
- Hard (stick) margarine and shortening
- Commercially baked goods (donuts, Danishes, cakes, pies)
- Convenience foods (icing, puff pastry, taco shells, pie crusts, cake mixes)
- Toaster pastries (waffles, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches)
- Oriental noodles
- Snack puddings
- Liquid coffee whiteners
- Packaged salty snacks (microwave popcorn, chips, crackers)
- Packaged sweet snacks (cookies, granola bars)
There is a very in formative post on www.foodamo.com about trans fats: https://foodamo.com/why-trans-fat-is-bad-for-your-health/
The tans fat ban will come into force on September 15, 2018
PHOs have been added to the List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances. The ban will come into force one year from now, on September 15, 2018, to give the food industry enough time to find suitable alternatives.
Once the ban is implemented, any food containing PHOs cannot be legally sold in Canada.