The Canadian ban on artificial trans fats in food products is now in force

OTTAWA – The Canadian ban on the main source of artificial trans fats is now in force.

The ban focuses on partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, which are the main source of industrially produced trans fats in all foods sold in the country.

Rules that come into effect today make it illegal for manufacturers to use the additive in food that is made or imported in Canada, as well as meals prepared in restaurants.

Trans fats are used in the last century to add taste and texture to food as a substitute for butter, but also raise the level of "bad" cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease.

Yves Savoie of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada says that eliminating these heartburning fats – used in many types of pastries, snacks and fried foods for years – will reduce the number of heart attacks across the country.

The federal government unveiled the ban for the first time last year, but gave the industry so far to adapt to the changes.

All products containing trans fats can be sold for the next two years as long as they are produced for today, as part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's strategy to maintain the new regime.

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