Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Health Canada continues its fatal dithering on trans-fat.

June 20th, 2007.

That was the date that then Minister of Health Tony Clement stated,

"today industry is being given notice they have two years to reduce the levels of trans fats or Health Canada will regulate their use."
Well guess what? It's 214 days later than that 2 year free-pass deadline and nothing much has happened to suggest we're any closer to regulation.

Well perhaps that's not altogether fair. Something did happen recently. Suspiciously right before Christmas (suspicious in that the things governments release quietly while people are distracted right before Christmas are generally the things they want to sneak rather than trumpet into existence) Health Canada released their final set of trans-fat monitoring.

The results?

Not even remotely surprisingly the results have proven that voluntary methods of trans-fat reduction don't work and regulations are certainly in order.

So really, are trans-fats that bad?

Well according to Sally Brown the Chair of Health Canada's own Trans-Fat Task Force, trans-fats are,
"a "toxic" killer that need to be removed from the food chain as soon as possible"
"the longer we wait, the more illness and in fact death will happen, so we know we have to get it out of our food supply"
and that,
"there is no safe amount of trans consumption"
And as I've noted before, it's not as if Health Canada can't act quickly. Remember what it did with BPA in baby bottles?
"We have immediately taken action on bisphenol A, because we believe it is our responsibility to ensure families, Canadians and our environment are not exposed to a potentially harmful chemical."
And more recently with phthalates where Health Canada announced a ban on six phthalates compounds that the most recent comprehensive review article notes,
"Analysis of all of the available data leads to the conclusion that the risks are low, even lower than originally thought, and that there is no convincing evidence of adverse effects on humans. Since the scientific evidence strongly suggests that risks to humans are low, phthalate regulations that have been enacted are unlikely to lead to any marked improvement in public health."
So here we've got a known toxin with far more serious public health risks than BPA or phthalates, that's already enjoyed a failed 2 year free pass, and Health Canada still has done absolutely nothing.

Great job Health Canada.

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  1. La Presse interviewed me last week about this issue and published an article on Jan 9, after I sent them the info about the fourth sets of data published before Christmas which shows still too much trans fat in some cookies, donuts and desserts. We will NEVER get rid of transformed food trans fat without a regulation from Health Canada. Bynow, please consumers, you must read the label to screenout which foods are safe for purchase.

  2. I'm a dietetic intern, working on a project that will work towards trans fat reduction policy in Alberta. BC has recently implemented such a policy, but only for restaurant products.

    Through my research, I strongly agree that industrially produced trans fats have no place in the food supply. Unfortunately, they are everywhere. I also agree that Health Canada is not moving as swiftly as needed, but there are multiple factors to consider that differ from the BPA issue.

    Removal of trans fats from all foods requires manufacturers to reformulate all their products, which takes time. I think they should be given some time to do that, but until that regulation exists, most manufacturers won’t change.

    My beef with Health Canada is giving too much consideration to the costs and inconvenience this will cause manufacturers. Who cares?! The health of the population as a whole should be put ahead of corporations, but I fear it is not.

  3. Anonymous8:37 am

    I do not see a problem - health Canada approves aspertame. fluoride etc - so one more killer can not be bad