Canada’s ban on the main source of artificial trans fats came into effect Monday, making it illegal for manufacturers to use the additive in any food made or imported into the country, as well as in any meals prepared in restaurants.
The ban takes aim at partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, which are the main source of industrially produced trans fats in all foods sold in Canada. The new regulation applies only to PHOs, not naturally occurring trans fats, which can be found in some animal-based foods such as milk, cheese, beef and lamb.
Trans fats have been used for the last century to add taste and texture to food as a replacement for butter. They also extend the shelf life of many foods, including commercial baked goods like cookies, pastries, donuts and muffins, snack foods and fried foods.
But they are known to increase levels of “bad” cholesterol, raising the risk of heart disease.
The head of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, an organization that has long pushed for the removal of trans fats, said he is thrilled to finally see the ban implemented.
“This important and final step will eliminate these heart-clogging fats from our food supply, benefiting the health of all people in Canada by reducing the number of heart attacks and saving lives,” Yves Savoie said in a statement.