Tories putting youth health at risk

Liberal health critic chastises Tories on trans-fat issue

To the editor:

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod and the Conservative government 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 recognize these risks. In 2007, it called for the food industry to voluntarily limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft spreadable margarines to two per cent of the total fat content and to five 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.

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 Mrs. McLeod and the Conservatives once held. It is time to call them on that broken promise.

Dr. Hedy Fry, MP

Liberal health critic