British Columbia is the first province to restrict trans fats in restaurants, but Nova Scotia’s approach is a little more natural.
“We don’t have anything on the horizon to bring in something similar,” said Susan Mader Zinck of Nova Scotia’s agriculture department.
“What we’re going to do is just watch B.C. and how it progresses out there.”
B.C. announced Saturday it is going to restrict trans fats in foods prepared in restaurants.
“By the time we hold the Olympics in 2010, we want every British Columbian and every visitor to our province to know the food they order in restaurants or eat in schools is trans-fat free,” said Mary Polak, B.C.’s minister of Healthy Living and Sport.
Trans fats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease, explained Amy MacDonald, a public health nutritionist from Nova Scotia.
“I think any step we take to reduce the amount of trans fat in our food will make our population healthier,” she said.
Nova Scotia recommends schools cut out trans fats, but there are no rules or pressure to restrict it in restaurants.
Elaine Shelton of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia said the foundation is working on the issue on a national level to make it more effective.
“My understanding is the provincial government only has jurisdiction over food service establishments as opposed to food production,” she said.
But trans fats are slowly disappearing here, said Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia.
“It’s an evolutionary thing like how smoking in restaurants is no longer there,” he said. “It’s something the industry is weeding out itself.”
Even fast-food establishments who initially resisted switching out the oils in their deep fryers are coming around.
“They’ve made quantum leaps in getting rid of trans fat. It’s interesting now watching them use it as a marketing ploy when you see a lot of stuff with ‘no trans fats’ on it,” Stewart said.