An important step closer to removing trans fats from foods in Canada



    OTTAWA, June 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF)
welcomes the federal government's acceptance today of the recommendations of
the national Trans Fat Task Force. The federal government indicated that it
will introduce regulations to virtually eliminate processed trans fats in
Canadian foods, should foods continue to exceed the Task Force's recommended
targets after a two year period of monitoring.
    "The acceptance of these expert, consensus recommendations moves us one
big step closer to the elimination of processed trans fats from our food,"
says Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Ms Brown
co-chaired the national Trans Fat Task Force, comprised of scientists, health
experts, and the food industry.
    According to Ms Brown, the Task Force's report has already galvanized
change in Canada's food processing and food service sectors. "We've seen that,
in many areas, processed trans fats have been coming down significantly since
the Task Force began its work. They're bad for our hearts, consumers don't
want them, and we salute the companies that have recognized that trans fats
have to go."
    The Heart and Stroke Foundation is still concerned, however, about the
high amounts of processed trans in some fast food, restaurant, and pastry
products - sectors in which progress has been slower, the availability of
healthier substitutes for trans is more challenging, and where mandatory trans
fat labeling to inform consumers does not apply.
    "Accurate and accessible nutrition information must be provided by food
service establishments, in order for consumers to make informed choices on
what they're eating", says Ms Brown. A recent survey by the Heart and Stroke
Foundation reveals that there is much work to be done in removing trans fats
from some popular fast foods:

    
    Some results of an April 2007 HSF Food Survey include:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    PRODUCT                           TRANS FAT        NUMBER OF TIMES OVER
                                      CONTENT          THE TRANS FAT LIMIT(*)
                                      (GRAMS)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    McDonald's Happy Meal:
    Four chicken nuggets, small
    French fries and apple juice      2g               1.6x
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    McDonald's Baked Apple Pie        5g               7.2x
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Burger King Hash Browns           10g/128g         8.4x
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Burger King Kid's French Fries    3g/74g           5x
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Burger King Berry Turnover        6g/87g           7.6x
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)Based on the Trans Fat Task Force recommendations
    

    The Foundation encourages the federal government to provide incentives to
support smaller Canadian businesses in eliminating trans fats in foods.
    "The government's signal today that it will monitor the progress of all
industries in eliminating processed trans fats from foods is critical to
achieving the Task Force's recommendations," says Ms Brown. "Over the next two
years the Heart and Stroke Foundation will work with Health Canada to monitor
the situation and inform the public on where trans fats remain in our foods,
and how to make healthier choices."
    The Foundation also expressed concern that progress not be lost in the
development of healthier alternatives to processed trans fats and saturated
fats. "Canadian scientists, oil seed growers and industry stand to be global
leaders in the new markets for trans fat alternatives. The tide has turned,
and trans fats clearly have no place in our food supply. Government, industry,
health organizations, and consumers must continue to demand change."
    "The Foundation's goal is to get rid of processed trans fats in Canadian
foods, and today we've moved closer than ever to that objective," notes Ms
Brown. "We'll continue to work to achieve that goal and to keep the public
informed of Canada's progress."

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation (www.heartandstroke.ca), a
volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke
and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its
application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.




For further information:

For further information: Jane-Diane Fraser, Heart and Stroke Foundation,
(613) 569-4361, ext 273, jfraser@hsf.ca


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