Conservatives putting kids’ health at risk with trans fats

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Member of Parliament David Anderson and the Conservative Party are putting our children’s health at risk through their irresponsible attitude to trans fats in our foods.

Trans fats increase the risk of heart disease and are estimated to be responsible for thousands of cardiac deaths annually in Canada. Unlike salt or sugars used in appropriate amounts, there are absolutely no health benefits to processed trans fats, but they cause considerable harm.

The Conservative government used to recognise these risks: back in 2007 it called for the food industry to voluntarily limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft spreadable margarines to 2 per cent of the total fat content and to 5 per cent for all other foods. They promised to regulate the industry if these limits were not met in two years.

That two-year limit expired in 2009. Not only have the Conservatives reneged on their plan to impose regulations to protect Canadians and their children from trans fats, they are also cancelling the trans fat monitoring program!

This is completely wrong-headed. As Sir Michael Marmot, former president of the British Medical Association, puts it, “you don’t tell people to drink clean water — you provide clean water . . . You don’t tell people to avoid trans fats – you get it out of the food supply.”

Trans fats must be removed from the food system. Canadians should be able to trust that the foods they and their children eat will be healthy and not cause harm. This will not only improve health, it will also relieve the strain on our Medicare system, saving taxpayers as much as $9 billion on health care over the next two decades.

The Liberal Party is committed to ensuring tough new regulations to restrict trans fats in our foods—a position Mr. Anderson and the Conservatives once held. It is time to call them on that broken promise.

MP Hedy Fry, Health Critic, Liberal Party of Canada

Organizations: Conservative Party, Liberal Party of Canada

Geographic location: Canada

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