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Data: Trans fat levels in foods declining


February 18, 2009
By Health Canada

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Data: Trans fat levels in foods declining
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq last week announced
that Canada continues to make progress towards reducing the amount of
trans fat in the Canadian food supply.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq last week announced
that Canada continues to make progress towards reducing the amount of
trans fat in the Canadian food supply.

This data includes an analysis of bakery products, a small sample of
international foods sold in restaurants, and nutrition information
obtained from the Nutrition Facts table of pre-packaged foods.
According to new data released today from the trans fat monitoring
program, 80 per cent of the pre-packaged foods selected for label review met
the trans fat limit set by the Trans Fat Task Force in June 2006.

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"Our government is pleased to see that industry has reduced the level
of trans fat in many pre-packaged foods," said Aglukkaq. "This
was achieved by finding healthier alternatives without increasing the
levels of saturated fat. We are also encouraged that foods sold at
various restaurants serving international cuisine are meeting the trans
fat limit."

The foods that were sampled in this set of data included:

  • Bakery products from grocery stores, such as croissants, pies, tarts, cakes, brownies and donuts.
  • Foods from restaurants serving Chinese, Thai, East Indian, Lebanese, Caribbean, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines.
  • Donuts and muffins from popular coffee and donut shops.
  • Pre-packaged
    foods from grocery stores, including cookies, crackers, instant
    noodles, frozen potatoes, desserts, snacks and popcorn.

In
2006, the Trans Fat Task Force recommended a trans fat limit of 2 per cent of
the total fat content for all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable
margarines, and a limit of 5 per cent of the total fat content for all other
foods, including ingredients sold to restaurants. In June 2007, Health
Canada adopted these recommendations and gave industry two years to
demonstrate progress in meeting the recommended targets. Health Canada
is monitoring progress through the Trans Fat Monitoring Program and is
publishing the results on its website.

This is the
third set of data to be released from Health Canada's Trans Fat
Monitoring Program. For the first two sets, Health Canada looked at
those food categories that had previously contributed the highest
levels of trans fats, including foods from family restaurants and
popular fast food chains, as well as pre-packaged foods. The fourth and
final set of monitoring data is to be posted in the summer of 2009.

Canada
was the first country to require that the levels of trans fat in
pre-packaged foods be included on the mandatory Nutrition Facts table.
Canadians are encouraged to read the Nutrition Facts table when making
food selections, as it lists the amount of trans and saturated fat a
product contains, as well as other important nutrition information such
as calories and the level of 13 core nutrients.

Please visit Health Canada's website for more information on trans fat and nutrition.


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