Stephen Rushmore Jr.
It’s official. The NYC Board of Health approved banning transfatty oils from restaurants yesterday.
here’s the article:
NEW YORK (AP) The Board of Health voted Tuesday to make New York the nation’s first city to ban artery-clogging artificial trans fats at restaurants from the corner pizzeria to high-end bakeries.
The board, which passed the ban unanimously, did give restaurants a slight break by relaxing what had been considered a tight deadline for compliance. Restaurants will be barred from using most frying oils containing artificial trans fats by July and will have to eliminate the artificial trans fats from all of its foods by July 2008.
Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said recently that officials seriously weighed complaints from the restaurant industry, which argued that it was unrealistic to give them six months to replace cooking oils and shortening and 18 months to phase out the ingredients altogether.
The ban contains some exceptions; for instance, it would allow restaurants to serve foods that come in the manufacturer’s original packaging.
Trans fats are believed to be harmful because they contribute to heart disease by raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol at the same time. Some experts say that makes trans fats worse than saturated fat.
The panel also passed another measure that has made restaurants unhappy: Some that chose to inform customers about calorie content will have to list the information right on the menu. The rule would generally apply to fast-food restaurants and other major chains.
Trans fats are formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats by adding hydrogen in a process called hydrogenation. A common example of this is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is used for frying and baking and turns up in processed foods like cookies, pizza dough and crackers. Trans fats, which are favored because of their long shelf life, are also found in pre-made blends like pancake and hot chocolate mix.
The FDA estimates the average American eats 4.7 pounds of trans fats each year.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who banned smoking in bars and restaurants during his first term, is somewhat health-obsessed, and even maintains a monthly weight-loss competition with one of his friends in order to stay slim.
He has dismissed cries that New York is crossing a line by trying to legislate diets.
"Nobody wants to take away your french fries and hamburgers I love those things, too," he said recently. "But if you can make them with something that is less damaging to your health, we should do that."
Many food makers have stopped using trans fats on their own, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring companies to list trans fat content on labels.
Fast-food restaurants and other major chains were particularly interested in the board’s decision on Tuesday, because for these companies, a trans-fat ban wouldn’t just involve substituting one ingredient for another. In addition to overhauling recipes, they have to disrupt nationwide supply operations and try to convince customers that the new french fries and doughnuts will taste just as good as the originals.
Already, McDonald’s Corp. has been quietly experimenting with more than a dozen healthier oil blends but has not committed to a full switch. At an investor conference last month, CEO Jim Skinner said the company is making "very good progress," at developing an alternative, and vowed to be ready for a New York City ban.
Wendy’s International Inc. introduced a zero-trans fat oil in August and Yum Brands Inc.’s KFC and Taco Bell said they also will cut the trans fats from their kitchens.
Taco Bell worked for more than two years to find a substitute, conducting blind consumer taste tests and extensive research, the company said.
Chicago is also considering its own trans fat law, which wouldn’t ban them outright but would severely restrict the amount,21,238678.018,1,28745,188.8.131.52
238695,238678,238678,2006-09-30 11:30:10,RE: NYC To Ban Trans-Fat Oils”