Letter from City Councilor Marvin Rotrand of Snowdon

Dear Friend,
Next week’s City Council meeting will debate my motion to urge the Government of Canada to ban artificial trans fats in food.
I had initially raised this as a Borough motion in Cote des Neiges – Notre Dame de Grace. When this was reported, the Boroughs of Lasalle, St. Leonard and Plateau Mont Royal followed suit.
However, the Association pour la sante publique du Quebec has launched a province wide campaign urging municipalities to adopt motions asking the Government of Canada to act. I have accordingly brought the issue to City Council.
Research has definitely proven the dangers of artificial trans fats which contribute to bad cholresterol, heart disease and diabetes. Consumption of trans fats is linked to thousands of deaths each year.
Trans fats are used to extend the shelf life of certain food products or to make certain commercial oils used for frying last longer. When scientists showed that consumption of trans fats in any amount was detrimental to health, Canada followed the lead of other countries and required clear labelling on food products.
Over the past decade that measure has lowered consumption by some 60% but the former government refused to ban trans fats preferring a voluntary approach.
Last year the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that consumption of any quantity of trans fats is unhealthy and decreed regulations that oblige the food industry to phase out all artificial trans fats by September 2018.
This is what I am hoping Canada will do as well. Trans fats can be found in all sorts of products such as shortening, margarine, frostings, microwave popcorn, non dairy creamer, crackers, store bought cookies and cakes, pancake and waffle mixes, store bought cookies, etc..
In most cases there are healthier options readily available and we have seen over the past years that many restaurants have easily switched to the use of healthier oils and greases that do not contain trans fats,
Prime Minister Trudeau’s mandate letter to Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott urges her to act on trans fats. The motion thus must be seen as support for the Government’s own platform.
Scientists and doctors tell us that banning trans fats is a truly effective health measure that comes at little cost to the food industry but which will lead to saving many lives and lowering costs in the health care network.
I trust that this motion which I am told will also be raised at Toronto Council will prod Health Canada to quickly moving to give Canadians the same benefits that Americans enjoy from the FDA’s regulations.

Non-partisan motion asking the Government of Canada to intervene quickly to eliminate trans fats

Whereas the Lasalle borough, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, Montréal and Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce have recently adopted a motion calling for a rapid response of the Government of Canada to eliminate trans fats food;

Whereas the Association for Public Health (ASPQ) recently launched a campaign calling on the federal government to ban industrial trans fats in food products and calls on partners throughout Quebec, including municipalities, to support this initiative;

Whereas the Dietitians of Canada have publicly supported this approach to remove trans fat from processed foods and those offered in restaurants;

Whereas clinical research has determined that the consumption of trans fats significantly increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes and that, according to public health authorities, trans fat consumption is responsible for thousands of premature deaths annually across the Canada;

Whereas Health Canada requires that the content in trans fat from food be disclosed on food labels, and that this requirement has led many consumers to opt for healthier choices and convinced of fast food chains and food manufacturers to substitute healthy ingredients to trans fats;

Whereas the previous federal government rejected the demands of healthcare professionals to prohibit unnatural trans fats and instead asked the food industry and fast food to voluntarily reduce trans fat content of their foods;

Whereas partially hydrogenated oils are still found frequently in biscuits, cakes, icings, some margarines, cooking popcorn in the microwave, pancake mix, crackers, coffee creamers and other products;

Whereas despite increased awareness of consumers, the voluntary approach has failed to completely eliminate the health problems associated with trans fat consumption;

Whereas the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that trans fat consumption, at any level, is not recognized as prudent and decreed in June, a transitional period three years after that trans fats should be eliminated completely from all products offered to consumers;

Whereas the mandate letter by the Prime Minister to the Minister of Health encourages in particular the Ministry to implement similar regulations to those of the United States to eliminate trans fats;

It is proposed by Marvin Rotrand

And supported by Manon Barbe, Erika Duchesne, Lorraine Pagé, Claude Dauphin and Dominic Perri

That Council support initiative to eliminate trans fat and encourage Health Canada to quickly issue regulations that will ultimately lead to the complete elimination of trans fat of Canadian food products.

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