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  NYC Mulls Ban On Trans Fats In Restaurants

AHN | September 27, 2006
By Julie Farby
FLASHBACK:

Chicago Weighs New Prohibition: Bad-for-You Fats (July 14, 2006)

Feds Want To Regulate Fat (Dec. 22, 2003)

Detroit Proposes Fat Tax (May 9, 2005)

New York, NY (AHN) - Three years after the city banned smoking in restaurants, health officials in New York are talking about prohibiting something seemingly less pernicious: artificial trans fatty acids.

The city health department unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would bar cooks at any of the city's 24,600 food service establishments from using ingredients that contain the artery-clogging substance, commonly listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated oil.

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Artificial trans fats are found in some shortenings, margarine and frying oils and turn up in foods from pie crusts to french fries to doughnuts.

The proposal would create a huge problem for national chains, with McDonald's french fries, Kentucky Fried Chicken and several varieties of Dunkin' Donuts among the fast foods that would need to get an overhaul or face a ban.

Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden acknowledged that the ban would be a challenge for restaurants, but he said trans fats can easily be replaced with substitute oils that taste the same or better and are far less unhealthy, telling the AP, "It is a dangerous and unnecessary ingredient. No one will miss it when it's gone."

A similar ban on trans fats in restaurant food has been proposed in Chicago and is still under consideration, although it has been ridiculed by some as unnecessary government meddling. However, the latest version of the Chicago plan would only apply to companies with annual revenues of more than $20 million, a provision aimed exclusively at fast-food giants.

Meanwhile, under the New York proposal, restaurants would need to get artificial trans fats out of cooking oils, margarine and shortening by July 1, 2007, and all other foodstuffs by July 1, 2008. It would not affect grocery stores. It also would not apply to naturally occurring trans fats, which are found in some meats and dairy.

 

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