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To assess the prevalence of partially hydrogenated oils (PHO), hydrogenated oils (HO) and/or both in Canadian packaged foods in 2013 and 2017 and to determine the mean trans-fatty acid (TFA) content of products declaring such oils.
Repeated cross-sectional study of the Food Label Information Program.
Food labels (n 32 875) were collected from top Canadian grocery retailers in 2013 and 2017. Proportions of products declaring PHO, HO and/or both in the Ingredients List were calculated by year and food category. The percentage contribution of TFA (g) to total fat (g) was calculated and compared against the voluntary TFA limits, defined as <2 % of total fat content for fats and oils, and <5 % for all other foods. Foods exceeding limits were identified. The mean TFA content (in g/serving and per 100 g) was calculated for products with these oils.
The use of PHO, HO and/or both significantly decreased in Canadian foods from 2013 to 2017 (0·8 to 0·2 %, 5 to 2·4 % and 5·7 to 2·6 %, respectively, for PHO, HO and/or both). The mean TFA content of products containing PHO increased (0·34 to 0·57 g TFA/serving); although it was not statistically significant, it is still concerning that TFA content increased. The TFA content significantly decreased in foods with HO (0·24 to 0·16 g TFA/serving, P < 0·05) during 2013–2017.
Products with PHO continue to be present in the Canadian marketplace, despite voluntary efforts to eliminate them. Products with HO should also be monitored, as they can also contribute to TFA content in foods.
For all IPS drinks, the mean package size was larger than the mean serving size (mean (sd)=412 (157) ml and 359 (159) ml, respectively). The mean (sd) package size of IPS drinks was significantly different for all countries (range: Australia=370 (149) ml to New Zealand=484 (191) ml; P<0·01). The mean (sd) package size of Dutch BPS drinks (1313 (323) ml) was significantly smaller compared with the other countries (New Zealand=1481 (595) ml, Australia=1542 (595) ml, Canada=1550 (434) ml; P<0·01). The mean (sd) serving size of BPS drinks was significantly different across all countries (range: Netherlands=216 (30) ml to Canada=248 (31) ml; P<0·00). New Zealand had the largest package and serving sizes of the countries assessed. In all countries, a large number of different serving sizes were used to provide information on the amount appropriate to consume in one sitting.
At this point there is substantial inconsistency in package sizes and manufacturer-recommended serving sizes of sweet beverages within and between four high-income countries, especially for IPS drinks. As consumers do factor serving size into their judgements of healthiness of a product, serving size regulations, preferably set by governments and global health organisations, would provide consistency and assist individuals in making healthier food choices.
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