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Old 09-26-2006, 06:59 PM   #1
Ned Sonntag
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Default NYC HealthBoard:BanTransFatsInEateries

NYC Mulls Ban on Trans Fats in Eateries

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By DAVID B. CARUSO Associated Press Writer

September 26,2006 | NEW YORK -- Three years after the city banned smoking in restaurants, health officials are talking about prohibiting something they say is almost as bad: 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.

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.

Doctors agree that trans fats are unhealthy in nearly any amount, but a spokesman for the restaurant industry said he was stunned the city would seek to ban a legal ingredient found in millions of American kitchens.



"Labeling is one thing, but when they totally ban a product, it goes well beyond what we think is prudent and acceptable," said Chuck Hunt, executive vice president of the city's chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association.

He said the proposal could create havoc: Cooks would be forced to discard old recipes and scrutinize every ingredient in their pantry. A restaurant could face a fine if an inspector finds the wrong type of vegetable shortening on its shelves.

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



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.

"It is a dangerous and unnecessary ingredient," Frieden said. "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.

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.

A few companies have moved to eliminate trans fats on their own.

Wendy's announced in August that it had switched to a new cooking oil that contains no trans fatty acids. Crisco now sells a shortening that contains zero trans fats. Frito-Lay removed trans fats from its Doritos and Cheetos. Kraft's took trans fats out of Oreos.

McDonald's began using a trans fat-free cooking oil in Denmark after that country banned artificial trans fats in processed food, but it has yet to do so in the United States.

Walt Riker, vice president of corporate communications at McDonald's, said in a statement Tuesday that the company would review New York's proposal.

"McDonald's knows this is an important issue, which is why we continue to test in earnest to find ways to further reduce (trans fatty acid) levels," he said.

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.

The Board of Health has yet to approve the proposal and will not do so until at least December, Frieden said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring food labels to list trans fats in January.

Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard University School of Public Health, praised New York health officials for considering a ban, which he said could save lives.

"Artificial trans fats are very toxic, and they almost surely causes tens of thousands of premature deaths each year," he said. "The federal government should have done this long ago."
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:07 PM   #2
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Default I Was Going To...

post this news item under ChubbyBellyBoy's post on the WB but AM closed the thread already... get it? Trans Fats? Like a remake of THE HUSTLER with Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad as Jackie Gleason? Yes! The personal ads in the Village Voice always used to end with, "No Fats Or Fems", which made Michael Musto want to create an all-fats-&-fems ad board. Now of course we have the Net.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:13 PM   #3
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Would have been very funny placement, Ned. LOL

On a more serious note, I'd be happy to see this happen - I avoid trans fats whenever possible. It's not a weight issue, it's just a general health issue.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:51 PM   #4
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Outstanding!

Maybe this will make it easier to find foods without trans-fats in them. Do you know how hard it is to find an Oreo type cookie without partially hydrogenated oils? Pretty darn hard... Most commercially prepared baked goods which are not from super-premium or health-concious brands still use trans-fats.

Yeah, like AnnMarie said, this is a health thing, not a fat thing. It's good news for people of ANY size.

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Old 09-27-2006, 02:00 AM   #5
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Default right on, bloomy

Next stop, banning high fructose corn syrup. Too bad with Lula's likely reelection in Brazil and continued cold war with Cuba the US Government will not likely soon begin importing more (relatively) healthier cane sugar. Instead we'll keep paying our own farmers outrageous amounts to grow so much excess corn we have to find new ways of killing ourselves with it.
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Old 09-27-2006, 03:49 AM   #6
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I have mixed feelings on this. It's great to get the trans-fat out of existence (and high frutuose corn syrup would be another one to consider), if possible, but this sure seems like government meddling to me. Give 1 point to good government meddling; trouble is, there's lots more bad government meddling or non-meddling going on. If they're going to meddle, why aren't they banning tobacco products, period? Much more dangereous than some illegal substances I know of.

The thing that struck me most about this article? The possessive was used for all restaurant names (i.e., Wendy's, McDonald's, etc.) which was totally incorrect use of an apostrophe. It's annoying when you glom on to some stupid little thing like that when there are bigger issues.
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:39 AM   #7
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Michelle,

see, to me, I don't see this as a form of the government meddling to protect us from ourselves. I see banning trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, etc... as being like banning certain pesticides. These substances don't do anybody any good. There are perfectly acceptable substitutes. They are not trying to ban baked goods, just the useage of a known to be harmful substance in the production of them.

Kinda like how we no longer use lead in paint in schools or asbestos insulation in housing... It was never the paint nor the insulation that was the issue, it was the harmful materials used to make them.

And that is how I see issues like this trans-fat issue. I don't want the government telling me I cannot have a cookie. But I do want the government to protect me against harmful ingredients in cookies.

It's an ingredient issue, not a product issue.

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Old 09-27-2006, 07:10 AM   #8
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Given the inordinately toxic nature of this synthesized substance, I'd have no problem with a ban. After selling school children's health to the highest bidder (Snapple), it's the least Bloomberg can do. But this has lip service written all over it. Why go after a seemingly unenforceable outright ban, rather than a disclosure policy? 'Cause they know a ban won't fly at this time in health history. But then they can say they tried.

Except perhaps for the smoking ban and the sweetly misguided Marky Markowitz, this city's leaders have proven time and again they care little for the health of New Yorkers.
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Old 09-27-2006, 08:04 AM   #9
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How about banning rent hikes and luxury apartments? Money woes affect health too!

Improving the quality of school food, I agree with BB a full disclosure would be much more effective.
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Old 09-28-2006, 05:53 AM   #10
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High Fructose Corn Syrup would be another threat as it does not get absorbed/used by the body as it converts to fat. Natural sugar is a way better alternative however corporations know High Fructose is cheaper that sugar hence it would take a strong push if ever to really enforce that change.

Scary thing is how popular high fructose is when looking at labels whether its syrup, soda, mcdonalds bbq/sweet and sour sauce (though they want to 'fight' obesity) among others.

As far as NY laws, being that Novemeber is coming certain politicans and officials need to keep their jobs and remind people what good public 'services' they provide. If NYC is going to hire loads of inspectors and enforce this as opposed to 50 or so food inspectors from the past in which some have been bought off in evaluations/proposed violations of the 9000+ restaurants in the city, would definately be news to me.
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