Restaurant industry urges Calgary Health to push for national action on trans fat



    CALGARY, March 29 /CNW/ - The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association (CRFA) recognizes the need to reduce the level of trans fat in the
Canadian food supply, and urges Calgary Health Region to join CRFA and other
stakeholders in calling on Ottawa to adopt recommendations from the federal
Trans Fat Task Force, instead of taking a Calgary-only approach.
    Chaired by Health Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the task
force completed a comprehensive, scientific review of the trans fat issue last
summer, and recommends the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft,
spreadable margarines be limited to 2% of total fat, and the trans fat content
of all other foods be limited to 5% of total fat. Trans fat cannot be totally
banned, because it occurs naturally in some foods such as dairy and beef.
    In a report released earlier this week, the Federal Standing Committee on
Health became the latest group to endorse the task force recommendations.
    "Restaurant operators are committed to reducing trans fat to the lowest
possible level, and many have already succeeded. But the supply of healthier
alternatives is currently not sufficient to meet all the demand from food
manufacturers and restaurateurs," says Joyce Reynolds, Executive Vice
President of CRFA. "If the federal task force report is adopted by government,
it will send a strong signal to oilseed growers and processors to increase
production of trans fat alternatives such as sunflower, corn, soybean and
canola oil."
    Restaurants purchase ingredients and menu items from food manufacturers,
so trans fat can only be removed from restaurant menus as trans-free
alternatives become available from manufacturers.
    "The federal task force report recognizes that this issue involves the
entire food chain," says Reynolds. "Moving too quickly runs the risk that
trans fat will be replaced with higher levels of saturated fat, which won't
deliver the desired health benefits."
    CRFA has published a step-by-step guide to help restaurant operators work
with their suppliers to reduce trans fat from menus items. The free guide can
be downloaded from CRFA's website at www.crfa.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Joyce Reynolds, Executive Vice President,
1-800-387-5649, ext. 4219; Jill Holroyd, CRFA Communications, 1-800-387-5649,
ext. 4217


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