Canada’s first trans fat task force met recently to discuss the risks and benefits associated with the various alternatives to the fat.
Chaired jointly by Health Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada with participants from the food industry, the objectives of the meeting had been to build a common understanding of the issues and to begin to develop a decision-making framework. The creation of the task force was announced in November 2004 in an attempt to make recommendations for reducing processed trans fat in Canadian foods to the lowest level possible.
The group will provide the Minister of Health with recommendations regarding public education, labelling and any possible immediate opportunities for the food industry to reduce trans fats. This announcement will be followed with recommendations for a regulatory framework and the introduction of healthy alternatives to limit trans fat content in processed foods sold in Canada to the lowest levels possible.
Recently Health Canada reported that over 60 percent of the trans fatty acids consumed come from processed foods such as bakery products, fast and snack foods, which are made with partially hydrogenated fats. However, since then a number of food manufacturers have reformulated their recipes to make their products trans fat free.
The challenge still remains though to make sure that in reducing the trans fatty acid content, the levels of other fat with possible negative health implications are not increased in the process.
The next task force meeting is scheduled for early June 2005.
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