The Science Underlying the Recommendations of the Trans Fat Task Force to Limit Trans Fats in Canadian Foods.
Ratnayake Nimal, Health Canada, Nutrition Research Division, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON 000000, Canada
The Task Force on Trans Fatty Acids was formed in early 2005, following passage of a motion in the House of Commons in November 2004, which called on Health Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to co-chair a multi-stakeholder task force with a mandate to develop recommendations and strategies “to effectively eliminate or reduce processed trans fats in Canadian foods to the lowest level possible.” To ensure that its recommendations would be based on best available evidence and current state of knowledge, the Task Force commissioned a comprehensive scientific literature review on relative effects of different types of dietary fatty acids on risk factors for coronary heart disease. In addition, the Task Force sought advice from internationally recognized experts on the health implications of substituting other fatty acids for trans fats. Based on the literature review and the opinion expressed by experts, the Task Force concluded that there is a significant and growing body of evidence linking trans fatsto coronary heart disease and that trans fats are more harmful than any other type of common dietary fat. After considering all the evidence, the Task Force recommended that “for all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable (tub-type) margarines sold to consumers or for use as an ingredient in the preparation of foods on site by retailers or food service establishments, the total trans fat content be limited by regulation to 2% of total fat content. For all other foods purchased by retail or food service establishment for sale to consumers or for use as an ingredient in the preparation of foods on site, the total trans fat content be limited by regulation to 5% of total fat content. This limit does not apply to food products for which the fat originates exclusively from ruminant meat or dairy products.”