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Manitoba bans trans fats


March 24, 2008
By Colleen Cross

Manitoba’s NDP government has unveiled plans to crack down on fatty foods in schools and harmful phosphates in rivers and lakes.

Manitoba’s NDP government has unveiled plans to crack down on fatty foods in schools and harmful phosphates in rivers and lakes.

The
government issued its annual throne speech, outlining plans for the
next 12 months that will include a ban on the sale of any food
containing trans fats at schools across the province. Premier Gary Doer
hinted the crackdown may eventually be expanded to other junk food.

“We’re going to start with stuff that’s easy to define,” Doer told reporters.

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“(Trans
fats) is a precise junk food and we can do it and achieve it, and we
won’t spend six months in a nitpickers’ convention about other junk
food that everybody will debate.”

Trans fats, or trans fatty
acids, are produced when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to increase
its shelf life. They are considered the worst kind of fat because they
raise “bad” cholesterol levels and lower “good” cholesterol levels – a
combination that significantly increases the risk of heart disease.

Manitoba
schools were told two years ago to develop nutrition plans, which could
still include junk food. The union representing teachers in the
province said the trans-fat ban is a further step in the right
direction.
“I don’t think it’s going to starve our children in any
way. I think our students are going to develop better eating habits,”
said Pat Isaak, president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.

“As
with any change, there will be an initial period where kids are going
to go into cafeterias and say, `Where’s that bag of chips I had
yesterday?”’