New Legislation from the Department of Healthy Eating Brings Changes for Food Service Establishments



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MenuSano Nutrition Analysis Software

  • Author: The MenuSano Team
  • Published: 9/25/2018 9:59:15 AM

-- read on to find out how your business will be affected and how MenuSano can help

Trans Fat Ban Canada - MenuSano

On 14 September 2018, Minister Petitpas Taylor announced that Canada’s ban on partially hydrogenated fat (PHOs) came into effect.

This is groundbreaking news and for Canadians its great news. Canada is proving to other Western nations that allowing an obesity and heart disease epidemic to strike is not a given.

Certainly, Canada’s neighbor the US has definitely been a factor in driving this kind of legislation which has been discussed for years. In the US, you will see billboards and TV adverts selling bariatric procedures and STOMACH-RESTAPLING as commonplace. This is nothing anyone sees as desirable, save for those in the bariatric business!

An attempt by British TV chef Jamie Oliver while well received in the UK to deal with British school dinners did little to change the US attitude. There has been no such shift in the US where sadly, one of the culprits “french fries” is still classed as a vegetable for US school kids.

In the US, where fast food giants still power parts of the government, Senator Sarah Palin was quick to rebuke Michelle Obama’s nutritional guidance. Nutritional guidance in the US is seen by many as the last bastion along with the right to bear arms. It is seen as a sign of a nanny state that many have refused to embrace.

While Canadians still enjoy a french fry like the rest of us, there has been far less opposition to embracing healthy eating legislation.

Tackling obesity, heart disease and stroke are some of the key takeaways from Canadian legislation and in years to come, Canadians will see major drops in these measurable objectives.

Put simply, Minister Petitpas Taylor’s ban is expected to save thousands of lives and countless suffering.

What are Trans-fats & Why the Ban?

Trans-fats and oils are used not just in the frying of products such as french fries but also used in baked goods to extend the shelf life of a product.

An industrial process is used to create trans fats that add hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them solid. These partially hydrogenated oils help food stay fresh for longer but the cost is massive in terms of human health.

Research shows that these fats increase levels of what is known as bad cholesterol. It also has the effect of lowering the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. A high trans fats consumption is estimated to be linked to thousands of cardiac deaths by clogging blood vessels. Trans fat also contributes to strokes and type 2 diabetes leading to further deaths and a strain on the health service.

PHOs cause a 300% increase in the risk of death from heart disease than other types of fats. And with the ban in place, Manuel Arango, director of health policy and advocacy at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, says that the risk will be lowered significantly.

"The best medicine is prevention," agrees Cardiac anesthesiologist Dr. Louise Sun, from the Heart Institute at the University of Ottawa. And the ban is a perfect example of that kind of policy.

It's not just trans fats, Dr. Sun says. Further bans could come in to place on other unhealthy substances, too. In terms of replacement products for trans fats, she says that warning of the ban has given Canadian companies and food businesses plenty of time to find alternatives to trans fat that are not as equally harmful.

Taking Trans fat off the Menu

Initially, mandatory trans fat labeling and the setting of voluntary targets were introduced. In addition, a monitoring program was introduced to measure how the industry was meeting the then, mandatory targets.

Health Canada finally announced a year ago that it was calling time on the food industry giving businesses one year to phase the oils out entirely. This followed many years of debates and calls from health groups to introduce a complete ban.

The ban was first announced last year so that food service establishments like yours could make the changes they need to ensure that you are following the directives now that the ban is in place.

Canada isn’t the first country to take trans fats off the national menu. Denmark paved the way in 2003 and 15 years on the food industry is well-equipped to find suitable replacements to trans-fats.

The implementation of the ban will reduce trans fats in the food supply to the lowest level possible. It will also help to achieve the public health objective of reducing trans fat intake by the great majority of Canadians to less than 1% of total energy intake.

Nutrition Label - MenuSano

But what does it mean, for food service establishments?

In short, the ban applies to all food that is packaged and produced in Canada. It also covers any imported products and the food that is served in food service establishments.

It is now illegal for manufacturers to add PHOs to foods sold in Canada. This includes both Canadian and imported foods, as well as those prepared in all food service establishments.

The ban specifically prohibits adding partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, to packaged foods and food sold in restaurants. There are, of course, the trans fat that occurs in some animal products naturally and these are still fine to use. They are not part of the ban.

As a food establishment provider in Canada, you can still use fat, it is just that you must use oils free from trans fat. There are plenty of alternatives to trans fat. You can still fry french fries and bake cakes.

Like with other food products that have had salt and sugar content reduced, consumers won't notice the difference. There may be some products that customers do notice a difference, however, in particular, croissants.

However as Arango puts it rather succinctly, “The government has made a decision that the shelf life of Canadians is more important than the shelf life of croissants.”

As a food manufacturer, you may need to consider changing recipes of such items as consumers palates adapt to the changes.

Here’s where MenuSano comes in

The Department’s Healthy Eating Strategy aims to make healthier food the easier choice for all Canadians. And prohibiting the use of PHOs in foods is going to do that.

So in displaying your nutritional information including the trans fat you are helping Canadians to make healthy and informed choices.

By using MenuSano nutritional software to display your nutritional information your customers can see that you are not just adhering to government standards but also showing your customers exactly what is in your food.

By not sticking to the ban you are risking legislative action being taken against your company.

Using the quick and easy software from MenuSano shows you are being accountable and honest and there are lots of other benefits too.

MenuSano allows you to provide informative and accountable information to your customers in terms of Canadian legislation and Daily Recommendation (DV%).

Rounding Values Nutrition Label - MenuSano

You can use the nutritional software from MenuSano from as little as $25 per month, to keep your customers informed. So don’t hesitate to try out MenuSano for free, today.

Additional Notes

Further information on this decision, including a summary of comments received during the April 2017 public consultation, is available in the Notice of Modification: Prohibiting the Use of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) in Foods (Ref. No. NOM/ADM-C-2017-3).

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