Canadian Ban on Trans Fats Comes into Force Today

News release

Ban on partially hydrogenated oils will reduce the risk of heart disease

September 17, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Health Canada

Reducing Canadians’ intake of trans fats is key to reducing the risk of heart disease, a leading cause of death in Canada.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that Health Canada’s ban on partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs)—the largest source of industrially produced trans fats in foods—came into effect today. It is now illegal for manufacturers to add PHOs to foods sold in Canada. This includes Canadian and imported foods, as well as those prepared in all food service establishments. This ban reflects a commitment made in the mandate letter to the Minister of Health to eliminate trans fat.

Trans fats raise “bad” cholesterol levels (low-density lipoprotein) in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart disease; they also reduce the blood levels of “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein), which protects against heart disease.

The ban was announced last year to give industry to time to adapt. The ban came into effect today with the addition of PHOs to Part 1 of Health Canada’s List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances in Foods.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) enforcement strategy for the new requirement includes a two-year phase-in period during which products containing PHOs can continue to be sold, as long as they were manufactured before September 17, 2018. The CFIA will verify that the food manufacturing industry has implemented appropriate measures to meet regulatory requirements through oversight activities such as inspections, audits and sampling.

Health Canada’s ban is consistent with global efforts to eliminate industrial trans fats in foods. Banning the use of PHOs in foods will effectively reduce trans fats in the Canadian food supply to the lowest level possible, and help achieve the World Health Organization’s public health recommendation to reduce the intake of trans fats by the majority of the population to less than 1% of total energy intake. Achieving this public health objective is expected to lead to an overall reduction in the risk of heart disease among the general population.

Eliminating PHOs from the Canadian food supply is an important part of Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, which aims to make the healthier choice the easier choice for all Canadians. 


Quotes

"As Minister of Health, I am very concerned with the rise in heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. Health Canada’s ban on partially hydrogenated oils in the food supply is part of the Government of Canada’s action to help protect Canadians from diet-related chronic disease."

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

"Heart & Stroke is thrilled to see the implementation of the ban on trans fats take effect. This important and final step will eliminate these heart-clogging fats from our food supply, benefiting the health of all people in Canada by reducing the number of heart attacks and saving lives. This measure is a critical component of the federal Healthy Eating Strategy,"

Yves Savoie
Chief Executive Officer, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Quick facts

  • The ban that came into force today applies only to PHOs. The ban does not apply to naturally occurring trans fats, which can be found in some animal-based foods, such as milk, cheese, beef and lamb.

  • Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada, resulting in approximately 50,000 deaths in 2012. Replacing PHOs in foods with unsaturated fatty acids, such as canola oil, decreases the risk of heart disease.

  • PHOs were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter. They add taste and texture and extend the shelf life of many foods, including commercial baked goods (e.g., cookies, pastries, donuts, muffins), snack foods and fried foods.

Associated links

Contacts

Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Health Canada
Media Relations
613-957-2983
hc.media.sc@canada.ca


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