Heart and Stroke Foundation and Toronto's Medical Officer of Health urge federal government to act on trans fats

    New study of common foods reveals trans fats aren't going away
    by themselves

    OTTAWA, April 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF)
today joined Toronto Public Health to release two new reports and urge the
federal government to eliminate deadly processed trans fats in our food
supply. The report by Toronto's Medical Officer of Health outlines actions the
city can take to reduce trans fat, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation report
surveys trans fats in popular Canadian foods.
    "We're pleased that the Medical Officer of Health for Canada's largest
city has joined us in calling on the federal government to take action on an
important heart health issue," said 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 and restaurant
industries, which submitted a consensus report to the Minister of Health
nearly one year ago.
    "Trans fat are not a choice, they're a killer," said Brown. The Heart and
Stroke Foundation estimates that consumption of trans fats could account for
3,000 to 5,000 Canadian deaths annually from heart disease.
    "We have studied the Task Force's report, and we urge the federal
government to implement its recommendations as soon as possible," said
Dr. David McKeown, Toronto Medical Officer of Health. "In the interim, we will
work with various city-run facilities such as childcare centres and
cafeterias, as well as school boards, to request that they voluntarily reduce
trans fats in foods prepared, served, and sold on site."
    Other cities are also concerned about trans fat. Last week, the Canadian
Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) issued a press release urging
the City of Calgary not to introduce their own regulations but to join in the
push for implementation of the Task Force's national approach, an approach
that would put all businesses - restaurants and food retailers - on a level
playing field.
    The CRFA release also noted that adoption of the task force report by
government will send a strong signal to oilseed growers and processors to
increase production of existing healthier trans fat alternatives such as
sunflower, corn, soybean and canola oil.
    "Our survey shows that while many restaurants and food manufacturers and
retailers are already demonstrating leadership and making good progress, which
we salute, there are still dangerous amounts of trans in many of our foods,
including foods that are consumed by children."

    Key results of the HSF Food Survey include:

    PRODUCT            TRANS FAT        No. OF    HEALTHIER            TRANS
                         CONTENT    TIMES OVER    PRODUCT                FAT
                          (GRAMS)    THE TRANS    OPTION             CONTENT
                                   FAT LIMIT(*)                       (GRAMS)
    Nico(soft tub)      1.5g/10g         3.75x    Becel Non-hydrogenated   0
    Margarine                                     Margarine
    Loblaws No Name      2g/100g          3.6x    Blue Water Fish          0
    Breaded Fish Sticks                           Sticks (Haddock)
    PC Natural Flavour    5g/50g            7x    Orville                  0
    Microwaveable                                 Redenbacher's Smart Pop
    Old El Paso             1.5g/         6.6x    Wonder + Wrapz 100%      0
    taco shells         2 shells                  Whole Wheat Tortilla
    McDonald's Happy          2g          1.6x    McDonald's Hamburger;  0.2g
    Meal: Four chicken                            side salad with low
    nuggets, small French                         fat Italian dressing;
    fries and apple                               fruit 'n yogurt
    juice                                         parfait; water
    McDonald's Baked          5g          7.2x    McDonald's apple         0g
    Apple Pie                                     slices with caramel
    Burger King Hash    10g/128g          8.4x    Burger King Baked        0g
    Browns                                        Potato (no margarine
                                                  or sour cream)
    Burger King Kid's     3g/74g            5x    Burger King Baked        0g
    French Fries                                  Potato (no margarine
                                                  or sour cream)
    Burger King           6g/87g          7.6x    N/A
    Berry Turnover
    (*)Based on the Trans Fat Task Force recommendations

    "The results of our survey are disturbing. There is no safe amount of
trans consumption, but many of these foods are well past recommended limits,"
said Ms. Brown.
    Last week the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health joined the
chorus calling for government action on trans, recommending adoption of the
Task Force's recommendations within their report on childhood obesity.
    Also last week, a Harvard School of Public Health study found that women
in the U.S. with the highest levels of trans fat in their blood had three
times the risk of coronary heart disease as those with the lowest levels.
    "This government has made some significant strides in improving the heart
health of Canadians, including the creation of the Canadian Heart Health
Strategy, which we acknowledge and applaud," says Sally Brown. "We're asking
them to work with us to get trans out of our foods, consistent with the goals
of that Strategy."

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation, 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.

    The Toronto Public Health report is available at www.toronto.ca/health

For further information:

For further information: Sharon Edwards, Heart and Stroke Foundation,
(416) 489-7111, ext 482, (416) 937-5307 (cell), sedwards@hsf.on.ca; Jane-Diane
Fraser, (613) 569-4361, ext 273, jfraser@hsf.ca; Rishma Govani, Toronto Public
Health, (416) 338-7974, rgovani@toronto.ca

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