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Industry reduces trans fat levels


December 21, 2007
By Bakers Journal

Dec. 21, 2007, Ottawa, Ont. – On Thursday, Health Minister Tony Clement released the first set of data from the governments’ trans fat monitoring program. The data shows trans fat levels were reduced in all food categories targeted in the first set of data, many to the recommended limit of five per cent of the total fat content, without increasing the level of saturated fats.

Dec. 21, 2007, Ottawa, Ont. – On Thursday, Health Minister Tony Clement released the first set of data from the governments’ trans fat monitoring program. The data shows trans fat levels were reduced in all food categories targeted in the first set of data, many to the recommended limit of five per cent of the total fat content, without increasing the level of saturated fats.
In June 2007, the Government of Canada called on industry to voluntarily reduce the levels of trans fat in the Canadian food supply to the lowest levels recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force, and announced that the government would monitor the progress.
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.
“By monitoring trans fats levels and releasing the results today, we are helping Canadian families to better understand the foods they are eating,” said Minister Clement. “This data shows that in all food categories that were analyzed, there are many successful examples of trans fats levels being reduced. This is great news, but we still have work to do as some foods continue to have trans fat levels that are too high.”
Industry is being asked to show significant progress by June 2009 to reduce trans fats levels, or the government will introduce regulations to ensure the levels are met.
“The food industry needs to keep moving forward, across the country and in all parts of our food supply, until we achieve the Trans Fat Task Force's recommendations,” said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and co-chair of the Task Force. “Health Canada’s ongoing monitoring and public release of the results are critical to encouraging industry to make product changes, and helping consumers make informed choices on how to avoid trans fats.”
Canada is the first country to publicly post this type of monitoring data related to trans fat levels in commercial foods. The next set of data is planned for posting in the spring of 2008.
The foods that were sampled represented the top selling brands for each food category and accounted for more than 80 per cent of sales within that food category.
They include:
-Pre-packaged foods purchased in grocery stores, such as cookies, crackers, frozen potatoes and chicken products, granola bars, and muffins; and
-Restaurant fast foods, such as chicken strips and nuggets, donuts, fish products, and French fries.
In many cases, industry achieved the reduction in trans fats levels by using healthier alternatives and not increasing the levels of saturated fat.
Click here to view the data.

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