The good, the bad and the ugly - Trans fat levels coming down, but not everywhere, says Heart and Stroke Foundation



    TORONTO, Dec. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The release today of Health Canada's
first set of trans fat monitoring data clearly shows that progress is being
made by some companies in eliminating trans fats from frequently consumed food
products, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
    "Many companies have made significant progress in reducing trans fats,
which we applaud," notes Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation
of Canada and co-chair of the national Trans Fat Task Force. "But other
companies do not seem to be getting the message. This monitoring data will
help get that message to consumers."
    Burger King comes through in the data as the "King of Trans Fat", with
unacceptably high levels of trans fat in many of their products, which raises
concerns about whether they care about the heart health of their customers,
said Brown.
    The Trans Fat Task Force issued a report in 2006 recommending that
processed trans fats be limited to no more than 5% of total fat. The federal
government accepted this recommendation in 2007 and gave the food industry two
years to reduce the amount of heart-clogging trans fat in their foods, with
government monitoring of trans fat levels in Canadian foods every six months
in the interim.
    "Congratulations are due to Minister Clement and Health Canada for
collecting, analyzing and publishing this data as promised, so that the public
has ready access to reliable information on where deadly trans fats can still
be found in our foods, "said Ms. Brown.
    The table below shows Burger King's lack of progress against the Task
Force targets:

    
                    Burger King - "The King of Trans Fat"
                    ---------------------------------------

    Product Name       Sampling Date        Trans Fat        Number of times
                                      (% of total fat)      higher than task
                                                        force recommendation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chicken Nuggets       March 2007            23.6        4.7 times higher
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fish Filet            March 2007            37.7        7.5 times higher
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    French Fries            Oct 2006            43.8        8.8 times higher
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Apple Turnover        April 2007            40.1          8 times higher
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hash Browns           March 2007            41.9        8.4 times higher
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Onion Rings             May 2007            19.9          4 times higher
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    "Overall, fast food restaurants are clearly still facing challenges,
particularly in removing trans AND replacing them with healthier
alternatives," says Ms Brown. "Health Canada's analysis of donuts underlines
this problem, where those companies that have been successful in lowering
trans fats seem to have replaced them with less harmful, but not heart-healthy
saturated fats."
    "Good progress has been made in the retail sector, where most foods have
had to include trans fat in the nutrition facts table for two years," Ms Brown
notes. "Heart and Stroke Foundation polls show that the 75% of Canadians are
aware of the harmful effects of trans fats, but they need to be able to
identify them. Nutrition information needs to be readily available in
restaurants, so that consumers can be aware of which products contain trans,
as well as those that have higher levels of saturated fats, sodium and
calories."
    The Foundation noted that many fast food outlets have made improvements,
with several outlets of Cara Operations Limited, for example, reducing trans
fats substantially without increasing saturated fats. "Swiss Chalet, one of
the Cara brands, was the first national restaurant chain to join the
Foundation's Health Check program and offer Health Check menu options," says
Brown. "We look forward to working with other restaurants to improve
Canadians' choices when they eat out."
    The ideal nutritious menu for Canadians is to prepare home cooked meals
using fresh ingredients, but that is not the way most Canadians eat today,
according to Brown. "Canadians purchase 40% of their meals out of home, so
it's critical that while we encourage them to prepare their own healthy meals,
we're also present in the places where they frequently eat, and helping them
to make better choices from what's on offer."
    The Heart and Stroke Foundation has led the fight to remove trans fat
from the Canadian food supply since 2004. Evidence shows that, on a gram per
gram basis, trans fats are five to six times more deadly than saturated fats.
The Foundation estimates that consumption of trans fats could account for
3,000 to 5,000 Canadian deaths annually from heart disease.
    "At the end of the day this first report on trans fat is mixed," said
Ms Brown. "For some, the road to meeting the Task Force's recommendations is
long, and time is short. We applaud those companies that have made progress
and we challenge those that have not to significantly reduce trans fats as
soon as possible."
    "Meanwhile, consumers can make their position clear with their feet, and
their wallets."

    NOTE: Further Heart and Stroke Foundation analysis of Health Canada's
    trans fat monitoring data is attached.

    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.


    
    APPENDIX - TRANS FAT PRESS RELEASE - DECEMBER 20 2007
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Below are the trans fat and saturated fat levels contained in the chicken
products, donuts (chocolate) and French fries from various companies.

    (Source: Trans Fat Monitoring Program, First Set of Trans Fat Monitoring
Data, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada,
December 2007)


    Chicken Products
    ----------------

    Company         Product Name  Sampling Date         Trans      Saturated
                                                        Fat(*)         Fat(*)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HIGH PERCENTAGE OF TRANS FAT
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Burger King          Chicken     March 2007          23.6           25.0
                         Nuggets
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TRANS FAT LESS THAN 5% OF TOTAL FAT
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A&W                  Chicken     March 2007           2.1            8.4
                          Strips
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Boston Pizza         Chicken      Sept 2007     less than
                         Fingers                          0.1            6.9
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Casey's Fried        Chicken     March 2007           1.0           11.3
                          Strips
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Harvey's             Chicken     March 2007           1.2           10.8
                          Strips
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    KFC                   Crispy     March 2007           0.8            9.4
                           Strip
                         Chicken
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    McDonald's           Chicken     March 2007           2.5           23.8
                         Nuggets
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montana's            Chicken     March 2007           1.0           10.1
                         Nuggets
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pizza Pizza         Boneless     March 2007           1.9           18.9
                         Chicken
                           Bites
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Swiss Chalet         Chicken     March 2007           0.9           10.0
                          Strips
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wendy's              Chicken       Oct 2007           1.8           17.7
                         Nuggets
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)Trans fats and saturated fats are listed as a percentage of total fat.
       In the case of trans fats, less than 5% implies significantly reduced
       harm.


    Donuts (chocolate)
    ------------------

    Company         Product Name  Sampling Date     Trans Fat      Saturated
                                                        Fat(*)         Fat(*)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HIGH PERCENTAGE OF TRANS FAT
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Coffee Time           Raised       Oct 2006          26.1           23.3
                       Chocolate
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dunkin' Donuts     Chocolate       Nov 2006          40.1           23.2
                          Glazed
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Krispy Kreme       Chocolate       Nov 2006          29.1           26.7
                          Glazed
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Robin's Donuts     Chocolate       Oct 2006          37.1           21.0

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TRANS FAT LESS THAN 5% OF TOTAL FAT
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Country Style         Marble       Oct 2006           0.6           51.4
                       Chocolate
                          Coated
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tim Horton's       Chocolate      Sept 2006           1.4           47.3
                          Glazed
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)Trans fats and saturated fats are listed as a percentage of total fat.
       In the case of trans fats, less than 5% implies significantly reduced
       harm.


    French Fries
    ------------

    Company         Product Name  Sampling Date     Trans Fat      Saturated
                                                        Fat(*)         Fat(*)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HIGH PERCENTAGE OF TRANS FATS
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A& W            French Fries       Oct 2006          34.9           17.2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Arby's          French Fries     April 2007          30.2           11.3
                    (Curly Fries)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Burger King     French Fries       Oct 2006          43.8           22.6
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mandarin        French Fries     April 2007           7.5           10.4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wendy's         French Fries       Oct 2007           6.8           14.7
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TRANS FAT LESS THAN 5% OF TOTAL FAT
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Boston Pizza    French Fries      Sept 2007           0.2            6.1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kelsey's        French Fries     March 2007           1.3            9.1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    KFC             French Fries     March 2007           1.7            8.0
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    McDonald's      French Fries       Oct 2007           4.2           26.0
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montana's       French Fries     March 2007           2.9            9.4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mrs.            French Fries     April 2007           2.0           17.1
     Vanelli's
     Restaurant
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    New York        French Fries       Oct 2007           0.9            8.1
     Fries
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pizza Pizza     French Fries     March 2007           2.3           17.9
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Swiss Chalet    French Fries     March 2007           0.9            9.4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Taco Bell       French Fries     April 2007           1.8            8.0
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)Trans fats and saturated fats are listed as a percentage of total fat.
       In the case of trans fats, less than 5% implies significantly reduced
       harm.
    




For further information:

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


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