New York City OKs Measure To Restrict Trans Fats
The New York City Board of Health on Tuesday voted to approve a measure that will restrict the use of trans fats in restaurants, "a move that would radically transform the way food is prepared in thousands of restaurants," the New York Times reports (Lueck/Severson, New York Times, 12/6). Research indicates that trans fats -- which increase levels of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol and decrease levels of HDL, or "good," cholesterol -- can increase risk for cardiovascular disease (Shin, Washington Post, 12/6).
Under the measure, restaurants can use no more than one-half gram of trans fat per serving of food after July 1, 2007. After July 1, 2008, restaurants will have to remove menu items that exceed the restriction on trans fat (New York Times, 12/6).
City health inspectors will examine the labels of ingredients restaurants use in their menu items, rather than test the foods themselves. Restaurants that violate the measure will receive fines of no less than $200 per violation (Jones/Hellmich, USA Today, 12/6).
The city will post the names of restaurants that violate the measure online, but violations will not affect whether restaurants pass routine health inspections (Washington Post, 12/6).
Several restaurant chains -- such as Wendy's International, KFC and Taco Bell -- have announced plans to eliminate trans fats from their menu items (Adamy, Wall Street Journal, 12/6).
The board on Tuesday also voted to approve a measure that will require some restaurants to display the caloric content of their foods on menu boards or near cash registers. The measure, which will take effect on July 1, 2007, applies to restaurants that before March 1, 2007, had provided the caloric content of their foods on Web sites or in some other form.
According to city health officials, the measure would apply largely to chain restaurants that have standardized menus and portions, about 10% of restaurants in the city (New York Times, 12/6).
PBS' "Nightly Business Report" on Tuesday reported on the trans fat measure. The segment includes comments from Shelia Weiss, director of nutrition policy at the National Restaurant Association (Weiss, "Nightly Business Report," PBS, 12/5).
A transcript of the segment is available online.