The Heart and Stroke Foundation says disappointing results from two years of voluntary efforts by the food industry to reduce trans fat levels in food mean the federal government must step in and regulate.
Some companies and sectors have done a good job, said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC). But overall the effort hasn’t done enough to reduce levels.
“The food industry doesn’t get many brownie points for their efforts to self-regulate this time around,” Brown stated in a press release. Brown also is co-chair of the Trans Fat Task Force which recommended in June 2007 that total tans fat content of cooking oils and soft margarine be no more than two per cent of total fat content, and that trans in all other foods not exceed five per cent.
The government accepted that recommendation and gave the food industry two years to voluntarily comply, saying it would begin to regulate if levels weren’t reduced.
The HSFC has estimated processed trans fat could be responsible for between 3,000 to 5,000 Canadian deaths due to heart attacks every year.
“What is disturbing is that while some producers of the products have long ago complied with the recommendations, others continue to ignore them entirely,” said Brown. It’s particularly disheartening to note many products which still contain high trans fats are those popular with kids, she added.
Non-labelled baked goods remain the worst offender, according to data released this month from monitoring done by Health Canada. [email protected]