98 Percent Phase Out
The New York City Board of Health says menu fare is healthier in the city since restaurants ditched the artery-clogging artificial trans fats in nearly all restaurants.
The fat phase-out began in December 2006, when the city decided to target the artificial fat used for frying, baking, and cooking in the city’s restaurants, cafeterias, school lunch rooms, and among street vendors.
At the time it was determined that about half of food establishments were using trans fats.
The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that by 2008, more than 98 percent of restaurants were no longer using trans fats, which raise bad or LDL cholesterol while lowering levels of good or HDL cholesterol, contributing to coronary heart disease (CHD). More than 12.5 million Americans have CHD and more than one-half million die each year.
Dr. Sonia Y. Angell and colleagues at the city Department of Health write that establishments thought the transition would be difficult and complained of Orwellian measures, but manufacturers have been quick to find replacement trans-fat-free shortenings.
Trans fat result when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil to make the fat into a soft solid. Trans fats are man-made fats that do not spoil like natural fats eventually do - think Crisco, margarine, and shortening. Food manufacturers added trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, to crackers, cookies, and pastries.
Beginning January 1, 2006, all packaged foods had to list trans fat content on their Nutrition Facts labels.
Philadelphia, Stamford, Connecticut and Montgomery County, Maryland have followed in the footsteps of New York City.
In 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.
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.
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.
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. #