CANADA'S TRANS FAT SCORECARD
July 21, 2008
The fast food sector is making good progress but many margarine and pastry manufacturers remain in TRANSigent!
The Heart and Stroke Foundation today welcomed the recent progress in the fast food sector's reduction of heart-clogging trans fats, as indicated in Health Canada's second trans fat monitoring results.
"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. "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 2% of margarines' total fat content, and that trans fats in all other foods should be no more than 5%.
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 to within the recommended two per cent of total fat content, and have done so without significantly increasing the saturated fat levels.
Hard margarines continue to remain an issue across all brands.
Donuts also remain a concern. The Foundation encourages Health Canada to include them in the next round of monitoring. Donuts and pastries should no longer include high levels of trans fats, and companies need to be mindful to replace them with healthy alternatives. The Foundation reminds Canadians to limit their consumption of these products.
"The next round of monitoring will show if monitoring is working in the pastry industry," says Brown.
The good news is that many fast food companies are reducing trans fat content in their foods. For example, Burger King, a major transgressor six months ago when the monitoring data was first released has now significantly lowered trans fats in many categories.
The Foundation applauds the federal government for compiling and releasing this data. "Itís very important that Canadian consumers know what is in the food they eat," says Brown.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation encourages Canadians to prepare their meals at home and eat as much fresh food as possible, limit their consumption of processed foods , eat five to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, eat lower-fat products, and include items from the four food groups. Healthy recipes can be found online at heartandstroke.ca.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, the Honourable Stephen Fletcher, MP, released the results at an Ottawa Swiss Chalet, a food chain which is a participant in the Health Check program, the Foundation's not-for-profit food information program which helps Canadians choose healthier foods in grocery stores and restaurants.
Health Canada has given the food industry two years to reduce the amount of heart-clogging trans fat in their foods, with government monitoring of trans fat levels in Canadian foods every six months in the interim. The government indicated that it would introduce regulations to virtually eliminate processed trans fats in Canadian foods if foods continue to exceed the Task Force's recommended targets after this two year period of monitoring. The first monitoring results were released in December 2007.
"We will know by the end of next year whether monitoring will be enough for Canada to virtually eliminate trans fats overall or whether federal regulations will be needed," says Brown. "While the federal monitoring program coupled with various municipal bans and other public health initiatives clearly are having the desire effect in many areas, federal regulations may still be needed if levels don't continue to improve in all products." Recently released polling data by Angus Reid Strategies has shown that 84% of Canadians support a trans fat ban.
TRANS FAT DATA TABLES
MARGERINE (Soft tub)
HIGH PERCENTAGE OF TRANS FAT MARGERINES
COMPANY PRODUCT NAME SAMPLING TRANS SATURATED
DATE FAT* FAT*
Golden Gate Micha Inc. 100% Soya Oil Nov 2007 15.1 19.0
Golden Gate Micha Inc. Nico, 100% Canola Oil Nov 2007 20.6 13.3
Innovative Foods Chefmaster, Soft Tub Sept 2007 14.8 20.1
Loblaws Inc. No Name, 35% Less Fat Oct 2007 17.8 19.1
Margarine Thibault Inc. Thibault, 100% Soya Nov 2007 17 20.8
Metro Inc. Master Choice, Sept 2007 21 13
100% Canola Oil
Mirage Margarine Ltd. Mirage, Soya Oil Oct 2007 14.7 19.5
Parmalat Canada Lactantia, Oct 2007 16.4 20.6
My Country Unsalted
Parmalat Canada Lactantia, Oct 2007 16.2 21.1
100% Soya Oil
Parmalat Canada Parkay, Sept 2007 17 21.7
68% Vegetable Oil
Sobeys Compliments, Nov 2007 17 20.2
100% Vegetable Oil
TRANS FAT LESS THAN 2% OF TOTAL FAT
Canbra Foods Ltd Canola Harvest, Oct 2007 0.7 14.8
Loblaws Inc. No Name, Nov 2007 1.4 24.9
Non-hydrogenated 80% Soy Oil
Loblaws Inc. President's Choice Nov 2007 0.6 16.3
Loblaws Inc. President's Choice, Nov 2007 0.6 16.3
Margarine Thibault Inc. Nuvel, Soft Canola Oil Nov 2007 0.7 16.2
Metro Inc. Merit Selection, Nov 2007 1.1 15.7
Non-hydrogenated 91% canola oil
Parmalat Canada Lactantia, Nov 2007 1.2 14.5
Healthy Attitude Omega-3
Parmalat Canada Lactantia, Olivina Sept 2007 0.8 16.2
Sobeys Compliments, Nov 2007 0.5 16.7
Unilever Canada Inc. Becel, light Nov 2007 0.6 14.8
50% less calories
Unilever Canada Inc. Becel, Sept 2007 0.6 15.6
Unilever Canada Inc. Becel, Olive Oil Nov 2007 0.7 16.3
Unilever Canada Inc. Becel, Omega-3 Nov 2007 0.7 15.7
Unilever Canada Inc. Becel, RSF 67% Less Fat Nov 2007 0.8 15.6
Unilever Canada Inc. Becel, Salt free Nov 2007 0.6 16.3
Unilever Canada Inc. Blue Bonnet, Oct 2007 0.8 29
Non-hydrogenated 68% vegetable oil
Unilever Canada Inc. Fleischmann's, Oct 2007 0.9 24.6
Non-hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Unilever Canada Inc. Fleischmann's, Nov 2007 0.8 24.1
Salt Free Lactose Free
Unilever Canada Inc. I Can't Believe Oct 2007 0.9 29.2
It's Not Butter
Unilever Canada Inc. I Can't Believe Dec 2007 0.8 28.6
It's Not Butter, Light
Unilever Canada Inc. Imperial, Sept 2007 0.7 29
*Trans fats and saturated fats are listed as a percentage of total fat. In the case of trans fats (for vegetable oils and soft spreadable tub-type margarines), less than 2% implies significantly reduced harm. (note: the saturates are high in every brand.)
HIGH PERCENTAGE OF TRANS FAT
COMPANY PRODUCT NAME SAMPLING TRANS SATURATED
DATE FAT* FAT*
Coffee Time Raised Chocolate Oct 2007 31 24
Dunkin' Donuts Chocolate Glazed Nov 2007 56 16
Robin's Donuts Chocolate Dipped Nov 2007 37 22
TRANS FAT LESS THAN 5% OF TOTAL FAT
Country Style Marble Chocolate Coated Oct 2006 0.6 51.4
Krispy Kreme Chocolate Glazed Dec 2007 3.2 49
Tim Horton's Chocolate Oct 2006 0.6 48.4
*Trans fats and saturated fats are listed as a percentage of total fat. In the case of trans fats, less than 5% implies significantly reduced harm.
(note: they all have an unacceptable high level of saturated fats)
Source: Press Release heartandstroke.com / July 21, 2008