Thursday, December 07, 2006

NYC trans fat ban finalized

The proposed ban on trans fat in New York City restaurants I wrote about in September is now a reality.

NYC health officials approved the ban on artificial trans fats in city restaurants on Tuesday. The Big Apple is the first US city to impose such a ban, although Chicago has talked about it, too.

NYC's ban, unanimously approved by the city Board of Health, requires restaurants to stop frying with oils containing artificial trans fat within about six months and to keep it out of all foods by July 2008.

Trans fats are terrible for you and restaurants shouldn't be using the hydrogenated oils that put them in food, but do we really need the government telling us what to eat? I agree that restaurants should definitely be required to disclose prominently that their food had trans fats, but I'm not sure laws banning them altogether are necessary.


Paul M said...

The legislators shoudn't be targets for criticism here. They don't set the trends; in fact, it is the nature of politics for them to follow the trends.

Trans Fats has become a populist issue. That means the discussion is over and the way for restaurants to deal with it is to convert and move on, already.

As a food industry insider, I can tell you there are plenty of reasonalbly priced healthy, natural fat replacement ingredients that can work, and won't detract from taste. Z Trim is one of them (see page 90 of Oprah's physician, Mehmet Oz's new best seller "You on a Diet" for why it is so effective).

Check it out and let's move on.

Nolan Ledarney said...

This is a subject that I think will get allot of attention in the future. At what point do we draw the line where the government controls our actions. True, there is a need for initiation of legislation to bring light to the issues and concerns of modern day eating. But this has to be approached with caution and a level head.

People who are simply told not to eat something will inevitably fill the void of this legislation with another vice. Can one really say that a chicken wing fried in modern GMO fats taste better than one crisped in duck fat? Surly not. It’s my choice to eat in moderation isn’t it?

The key, in my opinion, is education. Surely the government as a whole doesn't see this as a topic that really needs to be addressed. I find it hard to see the state diplomats converting their kitchens to healthier oils when they entertain official guests, or to ban the use of these oils in other food products. Food appeals to all, whether you’re trying to ban foie gras, sea bass or trans fat it’s simply seems fashionable and an attempt to snap up a few votes, but I doubt anyone is waking up in the morning thanking the government for making their dietary choices for them. Simply taking out a link in the chain of unhealthy eating rather then addressing the issue as a whole is opportunistic and not sustainable.

Why not choose to hit the bigger issues by making a stand on something that will make a real change. Like addressing the sub-standard slop that chains such as Mc Donald’s shovels out. Or put a cap on the amount of money that can be spent on targeting children through all forms of advertising for products such as tobacco, soft drink and alcohol. Or even better why not spend the money to educate the public on proper eating habits, sustainable living and active life styles. Give money back to the schools so they can once again have a real P.E class for the students.

I think that it has to start at the grass roots level, allowing people to make these changes naturally and for themselves.

Anything less is just political masturbation.

Anonymous said...

Do you know that the first restaurant in the US that started using everything Trans-Fat Free was a Latin Chain from Guatemala knowned as Pollo Campero??

Anonymous said...

rip 1955/2006 trans fat in new york city

Jack said...

This ban could work out great, as it could spread to the rest of the country and beyond.

I disagree with making this optional. The general public is so poorly informed about food; until that changes, local governments will have to step in. I wonder if knowing about what causes obesity will ever top an American's knowledge of the lastest fad diet.