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Province axes trans fat initiative
Published Friday, March 13, 2009 2:54PM MDT
The province has put an end to Calgary's trans fat initiative.
In January 2008, the Calgary Health Region began limiting the amount of trans fats restaurants could use to less than two percent.
It was the first part of a multi-phase initiative that would see trans fats eliminated from use in restaurants and the foods we buy in grocery stores.
But Alberta Health Services, which has since dismantled the Calgary Health Region and created one superboard overseeing all healthcare in the province, says Calgary's health initiative has been shelved.
Alberta's Health Minister, Ron Liepert, says the government is not ready to pass a province-wide ban on trans fat and is waiting to see the federal legislation. The federal government has not released a timeline for when it plans to make a decision about trans fat.
The reversal in policy has pleased some Calgary restaurant owners. "The problem was going to be how could you implement it when you look at all the other products that were not just manufactured in Calgary but in the province, out of province and out of country," questions Arthur Raynor, the owner of a southwest restaurant.
Trans fats are made when oils are processed into semi-solid fats and are often used as a preservative to help prolong shelf life. Some studies have suggested that trans fats may increase the likelihood of developing cancer.
A nutrition expert says cancer isn't the only concern when it comes to trans fat. "It's atherogenic, it wants to build plaque and contribute to heart disease. In fact, the number one way to prevent heart disease is reduce trans fat and saturated fat," says Lynn LaFave, from Mount Royal College.
The second phase of the ban in Calgary, that would limit trans fat foods sold in grocery stores, was supposed to go into effect in July.