Health Canada’s report on its second round of trans fat monitoring results has some good news, but also some serious cautions.
First the good news. “Many fast food outlets are on the trans-fat reduction bandwagon and we applaud their progress,” says Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and co-chair of the Trans Fat Task Force, in a release. “Now the margarine and pastry producers need to get on board.”
In June 2007, the federal government accepted the Trans Fat Task Force’s recommendations that the total trans fat content of cooking oils and soft margarines should be no more than two percent of a margarine’s total fat content, and that trans fats in all other foods should be no more than five percent.
The product of most concern in this round of monitoring is soft margarines. “There is no excuse for the high levels of trans fats in many margarines,” says Brown. “These levels are due to a lack of will, not lack of ability.”
The monitoring shows that only some margarine producers have lowered the levels of trans fats. Hard margarines continue to remain an issue across all brands.
The baked-goods sector also remains a challenge, with only a few pastry manufacturers reducing trans fat in their products. Doughnuts at many outlets also remain a concern.
The government has raised the possibility of regulation if industry doesn’t meet the goals outlined by the task force. And certainly, many Canadians would support such a move. A Best Health/Leger Marketing study for the magazine’s Premiere issue found that 70% of Canadian women surveyed said that trans fats should be banned (see “Hey Canada:Let’s Ban Trans Fats”).
Yet, it’s difficult to fault the pastry industry when many of us are still making piecrust with lard and using shortening in homemade biscuits and cookies. Have you eliminated trans fats from your kitchen? What’s been the toughest thing to change?