Canada’s health authority Health Canada has taken the final step to ban partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from all foods sold and served in the country by late 2018.

The ban was finalised on 15 September, when PHOs, which are the primary source of industrially produced trans fats, were added to Canada’s List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances, Health Canada said in a statement on the day.

The ban included both domestically produced and imported food and products, in addition to those served in restaurants and food service establishments.

Canada’s Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the move made it easier for Canadians to choose healthier foods.

“Eliminating the main source of industrially produced trans fat from the food supply is a major accomplishment and a strong new measure that will help to protect the health of Canadians,” said Petitpas Taylor.

The ban was set to come into effect on 15 September 2018 in order to give the food industry sufficient time to find suitable alternatives for PHO use.

The move followed a proposal for the ban submitted by Health Canada in April, which in turn was part of the Healthy Eating Strategy launched in October 2016 by then-health minister Jane Philpott.

Yves Savoie, CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, welcomed the ban and congratulated Health Canada on the decision.

“Trans fats are still high in baked goods and other foods often consumed by children and other vulnerable populations. This will reduce the number of heart attacks in Canada and save lives,” Savoie said.

According to Health Canada, trans fats raised ‘bad’ low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which it said has been connected to a higher chance to develop cardiovascular ailments.

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada, claiming approximately 50,000 lives in 2012, the health authority said.