Thursday, June 21, 2007

Health Canada Ignores Own Recommendations


On June 6th, 2006 Health Canada's trans fat taskforce published its recommendations to Health Canada.

They recommended,

"Foods purchased by retailers or food service establishments from a manufacturer for direct sale to consumers be regulated on a finished product or output basis and foods prepared on site by retailers or food service establishments be regulated on an ingredient or input basis.

For all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable (tub-type) margarines sold to consumers or for use as an ingredient in the preparation of foods on site by retailers or food service establishments, the total trans fat content be limited by regulation to 2% of total fat content.

For all other foods purchased by a retail or food service establishment for sale to consumers or for use as an ingredient in the preparation of foods on site, the total trans fat content be limited by regulation to 5% of total fat content. This limit does not apply to food products for which the fat originates exclusively from ruminant meat or dairy products.
"
Yesterday, one year later, Tony Clement provided the government's response,
"We are giving industry two years to reduce trans fats to the lowest levels possible as recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force. If significant progress has not been made over the next two years, we will regulate to ensure the levels are met."
Here's my non-spun version of this statement, "We've stalled for one year, now we're going to stall for two more years and hopefully by then all this hubbub on trans-fats will die down and we can avoid upsetting the food industry for a few more years".

So how is the food industry responding to this remarkable lack of action and incredible turn of luck for them? Here's the headline of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association of Canada's response to Tony Clement's gift to them,
"Foodservice industry applauds Minister of Health for action on trans fat"
and from Food & Consumer Products of Canada,
"Food Industry Supports Government of Canada's Trans Fat Elimination Plan"
Here's a basic rule of thumb. If the food industry applauds your recommendations they probably had a hand in shaping them.

Once again, shame on Health Canada.

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