Food & Health Essentials

Food and Health E-ssentials

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

PHOs in foods are now banned in Canada

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is reminding food producers and importers of the deadline marking the end of the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in food products sold in that country.

In a Notice of Modification issued in mid-September, the Agency reiterated its enforcement of the ban against the use of PHOs in food products produced on or after September 17th. The date of enforcement follows a one-year phase-in period during which producers were expected to modify their recipes or methods of production in order to eliminate PHOs as an added ingredient in the foods they manufacture.

PHOs are industrial-grade fats used in certain food products such as margarine and shortenings, as well as baked goods, snack foods and fried foods. However, PHOs have been linked to an increase in so-called “bad” cholesterol levels in humans, and the simultaneous reduction of “good” cholesterol levels. To reduce their risk to human health, Health Canada moved in 2017 to add PHOs to its list of contaminants and other adulterating substances, which are either banned or strictly-limited in food and food products.

The September 17th enforcement date does not apply to food products that have been manufactured prior to that date. This gives food producers time to deplete any existing stock of products containing PHOs and avoid unnecessary food waste.

Additional information about Canada’s ban on PHOs is available at the website of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency here.

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