Health

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Carlos Osorio/AP

The State of California Says No to Trans Fats

July 27, 2008 01:00 PM
by Rachel Balik
Fast-food chains and the cities of New York and Philadelphia have already banned the use of trans fats; now the state of California follows suit.

30-Second Summary

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To protect the health of California residents who frequently consume fast-food, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a law ordering all restaurants to eliminate the use of trans fats by January 1, 2010.  The governor said, "Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California." Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is in support of the law and says that trans fats are "causing several thousand deaths each year."

Although the ban was opposed by the California Restaurant Association, many restaurants have taken the initiative to ban trans fat on their own. McDonald’s has switched to cooking french fries in oils free of trans fats in all restaurants in the United States and Canada. Jim Skinner, Chief Executive of the restaurant chain, said that by the end of the year, McDonald’s pies and other baked goods will be trans fats-free as well.

Wendy’s fast food restaurants switched to trans fat-free cooking in 2006, KFC and Taco Bell chains switched over last year, and Burger King has promised to switch to trans fat-free cooking by the end of 2008.

Trans fats can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

The switch to healthier cooking oils seems to be part of a nationwide movement as health officials attempt to hold restaurants accountable for providing accurate nutritional information and healthy choices to customers.

In recent years, New York City and Philadelphia became the first U.S. cities to ban restaurants from serving foods with trans fats, and earlier this month, New York City health officials began citing chain restaurants that did not comply with a new law requiring them to post calorie counts on their menus. Other cities are talking about adopting similar laws.

Headline Link: 'Schwarzenegger signs law banning trans fats in restaurants'

Background Links: McDonald’s, now without the trans fats

Related Topics: Trans fat bans and calorie counts

Reference: Trans fats, nutrition guide

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