National approach to trans fat makes good health sense

    CALGARY, Nov. 29 /CNW/ - Calgary restaurateurs will do their best to
comply with municipal trans fat regulations approved yesterday by the Calgary
Health Region Board of Health, despite the plan's shortcomings. The CHR plan
unnecessarily duplicates efforts that are underway at the federal level,
ignores most of the food supply chain, and sets unrealistic timelines.
    The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) supports the
recommendations of the Federal Trans Fat Task Force, which were developed in
consultation with health experts and the entire food supply chain. Restaurant
owners have been working with their food suppliers to reduce trans fat in menu
items to the lowest possible level, and many have already succeeded in meeting
the federal guidelines.
    "We want to protect the health of consumers. The best way to do that is
through a comprehensive, national approach involving all components of the
food supply chain. Unfortunately, CHR's approach is to launch regulations
quickly and figure out the details later," says CRFA Vice President Ron
Reaman. "We implore the Medical Officer of Health to commit to an evaluation
of this regional approach before sanctioning or penalizing any foodservice

    The strength of a national approach to reducing trans fat is:

    -   It provides health benefits to consumers whether they are eating at
        home or away. On average, Canadians prepare 76% of their meals and
        snacks at home and source 10% from a restaurant (the rest are skipped
        or eaten elsewhere).

    -   It covers the entire food supply chain to ensure that producers,
        processors, manufacturers, retailers and restaurateurs are all
        working together to reduce or eliminate trans fat.

    -   It provide a reasonable time frame for achieving the 2% trans fat
        limit on oils and spreads and the 5% trans fat limit on all other

    -   It can be cost-effectively monitored and enforced.

    "We are concerned that Calgary Health Region has chosen to go it alone on
trans fat when a comprehensive federal strategy is already in place. To make
matters worse, CHR has shown no real interest in consulting with
restaurateurs," says Reaman. "We urge CHR to work cooperatively with our
industry on a workable and effective strategy."

For further information:

For further information: Ron Reaman, CRFA Vice President, Federal, (416)
649-4242 or (416) 937-8640 (cell); Jill Holroyd, CRFA Vice President, Research
and Communications, (416) 649-4217

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