Toronto may become the latest city to ban trans fats in restaurants, in an effort to reduce the consumption of the harmful substance.
Toronto's board of health has asked the city's medical officer of health, Dr. David McKeown, to report back by September on efforts the city can make to phase out the fat from restaurants.
If recommendations don't come soon enough, Toronto may start implementing its own restrictions as early as January 2008.
If this is the case, Toronto would be joining other cities, most notably New York, which as of July 1st will ban the use of trans fats found in shortenings and margarines used for frying foods in restaurants. According to New York's ban, trans fat found in other foods, including baking and cake batters will be phased out in 18 months.
Trans fat is formed when unsaturated fat is hydrogenated to give foods a longer shelf life and make them more flavourful. Trans fat is found in many commercially baked goods and fried foods, and has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Since 2004, Health Canada has been working closely with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to develop recommendations to reduce trans fat consumption among Canadians. They released their final report, TRANSforming the Food Supply in June 2006. To view the full report, please click here.
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