Following a lead by New York City, the entire state of California has become the first to ban trans fats in restaurants, cafeterias, delis, and in retail baked goods.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law today.
The change will not take place immediately but will be phased in over the next few years. Trans fats are man-made fats that have been associated with an increase in bad cholesterol which leads to heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the state.
"California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said to the New York Times. “Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California.”
By the year 2010 the artificial fats must be gone from baked foods and restaurant fare. A violation could bring a fine of $25 to $1,000. Food produced outside of the state and sold pre-packaged would be exempt.
Tony Mendoza, an Assemblyman who represents southern California wrote the bill, despite the fact that there are many fast food chains in his area.
Following New York City, Philadelphia, Stamford, Connecticut and Montgomery County, Maryland have followed in the footsteps of New York City. As California goes, so follows the nation often in the areas of health. California already has taken a leadership position in eliminating empty calorie and high fat junk foods and trans fats from school means.
Expect California’s move to impact the large fast-food retailers, who all have franchises across the state, such as Wendy’s, KFC, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Cheesecake Factory, among many others.
In June 2006, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a lawsuit against KFC to stop the use of trans fats in their food.
Scientific evidence shows consumption of trans fats raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or the “bad cholesterol” which increases the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). More than 12.5 million Americans have CHD and more than one-half million die each year.
The majority of food sources containing trans fats include cakes, cookies, crackers- 40%; animal products -21%; margarine -17%; fried potatoes -8%; potato chips, corn chips and popcorn – 5% according to the FDA.
You can ban trans fats in your own home. Beginning in 2006, consumers could look at labels that had to list trans fat. #