Heart and Stroke Foundation: It's time to TRANSform the food supply. Regulate
trans fats now

OTTAWA, Dec. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation calls on the federal government to live up to the commitment made two years ago to regulate trans fats in Canada's food supply, based on Health Canada's final set of monitoring results released today.

"Canada's trans fat verdict is in," says Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "This fourth and final round of monitoring has demonstrated that levels of heart clogging trans fats are still far too prevalent in our food.

They can even be found at dangerous levels in foods in children's hospitals - the very places that are meant to improve the health of our children. Without government intervention, the trend will sadly continue."

This final set of data focused on small and medium sized restaurants and fast food chains, as well as other institutions such as high schools, CEGEPs, movie theatres, hospitals and universities.

"Once again, the levels of trans fats in baked goods, pastries and cookies, products which are frequently consumed by children, is particularly disturbing," says Brown.

Fourth round data shows 21 per cent of French fries, 26 per cent of chicken products, 50 per cent of bakery products and 60 per cent of cookies are still made with high levels of trans fats. "Without a clear signal to the market, oil producers will not produce healthy alternatives that can be used in majority of food categories that have remained an issue."

Brown says that Canadians should not have to worry about consuming foods that are not safe to eat. "Nutrition labeling didn't adequately tackle the problem. Without regulating processed trans fats there is no incentive for many companies to comply with reduction."

The Heart and Stroke Foundation applauds those food producers who long ago complied with the recommendations.

Reducing trans fat levels to those recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force will reduce the number of heart attacks in Canada and save lives. A high consumption of trans fats leads to a threefold increase in the risk of heart disease and is responsible for almost 3,000 cardiac deaths every year in Canada.(1) Trans fats are at approximately five times more harmful, on a gram-by-gram basis, than saturated fats.(2)

"Two years of self regulation hasn't worked. Voluntary measures clearly aren't working," says Brown. "Our federal government must act now to protect the health of Canadians and regulate. It is time."

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.

    
    References:

    1.  Estimate based on Harvard School of Public Health data.

    2.  Stender S, Dyerberg J. Influence of trans fatty acids on health.
        Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism 2004;48:61-6.

                         Draft Trans Fat Data Tables
           December 2009 Heart and Stroke Foundation press release


              Small/Medium-Sized Restaurants & Fast Food Chains
              -------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Type of Product                      Percentage of  products above 5%
                                         Trans fat level*
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    French Fries                                        21%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Desserts                                            44%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bakery Products                                     50%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cookies                                             60%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Muffins                                              0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chicken Products                                    26%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Miscellaneous Fast Foods                             0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

               Institutions & Other Food Service Operations(xx)
               ------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Type of Product                      % products above 5% Trans fat level
                                         *
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    French Fries & Potato Products                      29%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cookies                                             28%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Muffins                                              0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chicken Products                                    23%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Onion Rings & Fish                                  40%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bakery Products & Desserts                          38%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Miscellaneous Foods                                  0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Popcorn & Other Foods (movie theatres)              12%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Type of Product                      % products above 2% Trans fat level
                                         (xxx)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Margarines                                          75%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           Retail/Labelled Products
                           ------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Type of Product                      % products above 5% Trans fat level
                                         *
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Frozen Packaged Baked Desserts                      27%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Coffee Creamers & Whiteners                         47%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Snack Puddings                                      22%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Frozen Appetizers                                   15%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Frozen Dinners & Entrées                            19%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    * Trans fats are listed as a percentage of total fat. In the case of
        trans fats, 5% or less implies significantly reduced harm (excluding
        vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines).

    (xx) Includes CEGEPs, high schools, children's hospitals, hospitals,
        universities, nursing homes, train stations, hotels & movie theatres.

    (xxx) Trans fats are listed as a percentage of total fat. In the case of
        vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines, 2% or less implies
        significantly reduced harm.
    

SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation

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


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890