June 20, 2007
For immediate release
Canada's New Government Calls on Industry to Adopt Limits for Trans Fat
OTTAWA - Health Minister Tony Clement today announced that Health Canada is adopting the Trans Fat Task Force’s recommendation on trans fats in Canadian foods, by calling on Canada’s food industry to limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines to 2 percent of the total fat content, and to limit the trans fat content for all other foods to 5 percent, including ingredients sold to restaurants.
The Trans Fat Task Force, a multi-stakeholder group led by Health Canada in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, submitted recommendations to the Minister of Health in June 2006.
“Canada's New Government supports the reduction of trans fats as a way to ensure that Canadians can reduce their risk of heart disease and be healthy today and in the future,” said Minister Clement. “We are giving industry two years to reduce trans fats to the lowest levels possible as recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force. If significant progress has not been made over the next two years, we will regulate to ensure the levels are met.”
"Health Canada's adoption of the Trans Fat Task Force recommendations is an important step towards the elimination of processed trans fats in our foods," said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and co-chair of the Task Force. "But we cannot be complacent. We need to ensure that industry continues to work to meet the Task Force's recommendations. The Heart and Stroke Foundation, in partnership with Health Canada, will actively monitor foods in Canada to make sure Canadians have healthier choices."
Canada was the first country to require that the levels of trans fat in pre-packaged food be included on the mandatory nutrition label. This requirement was intended, in part, to act as an incentive for the food industry to decrease the trans fat content of foods. It has clearly had the desired effect as demonstrated by the significant number of products that have already been reformulated.
The approach being announced today will provide the food industry with the time required to reformulate products that still contain high levels of trans fats. The announcement will also maintain good will by acknowledging that significant progress has already been made. To ensure that industry is making progress, Health Canada will closely monitor the actions of industry over the next two years.
Canada's New Government will also continue to work with partners in the months and years ahead to raise awareness and educate the public about the health benefits of reducing trans fats, and look for further opportunities to help Canadians make healthier food choices.
Since 2006, Canada's New Government has introduced a number of measures to improve the health of Canadians, which include announcing:
- A Heart Health Strategy to fight heart disease in Canada;
- A National Strategy to control cancer;
- A revised Canada's Food Guide and new Aboriginal Food Guide;
- A Children's Fitness Tax Credit to encourage children to engage in physical activity;
- An Advisor on Healthy Children and Youth to provide recommendations by July 2007;
- A renewed ParticipACTION
- A Health Pregnancy Campaign to raise awareness of the health considerations for a healthy pregnancy; and
- A new website www.HealthyCanadians.ca
For more information on trans fat and nutrition, please visit www.healthcanada.gc.ca.
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Federal Minister of Health