August 31, 2017 Articles

Health Canada Proposes to Ban Partially Hydrogenated Oils by Summer 2018

By M. Katie Gates Calderon and Alyse M. Zadalis

On April 7, 2017, Health Canada announced a proposal to ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in food by adding them to the agency's List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances in Food, effective summer 2018. This ban is based on what regulators see as a broad and growing scientific consensus that high consumption of trans fats—the main source of which are PHOs—significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease and may also be associated with increased risk of other cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. See European Parliamentary Research Serv., Briefing, Trans Fats—Overview of Recent Developments (Mar. 2016). Canada joins a growing number of countries that are voluntarily implementing regulatory limits on the amount of allowable PHOs in food products, including the United States. Canada's proposal to ban PHOs largely mirrors the 2015 PHO ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and advances ongoing efforts to align the U.S. and Canadian food regulatory environments, thereby easing the burden on food manufacturers and suppliers conducting cross-border trade.

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