As of September 17, 2018 it is illegal for manufacturers to add trans fats to foods sold in Canada. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/file photo)

Trans fats can no longer be added to foods sold in Canada

Eating trans fats increases the risk of heart disease and the World Health Organization is urging countries to stop food companies from adding them to their products. As of today, companies can no longer add these partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) to foods sold in Canada regardless of whether they are made inside the country or imported.

Food labels must list trans fats contained in product. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Consumers should read labels

But the ban will not apply to food made before September 17, 2018 for another two years to give companies time to adjust. This means consumers who wish to avoid ingesting trans fats must read food labels to find out whether products contain these partially hydrogenated oils.

Heart disease kills tens of thousands of Canadians

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada and resulted in about 50,000 deaths in 2012. The government hopes to reduce that incidence of death by implementing this ban.

Trans fats were first used by manufacturers in the early 20th century to replace butter, add taste and texture and to extend the shelf life of many food such as baked goods, snacks and fried foods.

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