New York tells restaurants "Hold the fat"
www.chinaview.cn 2006-09-28 10:51:12

    

The sign of banning trans fats. According to a plan endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and approved by the city's board of health, New York's restaurants, cafes and street stalls will be forced to a half-gram limit of trans fats. (File Photo)
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BEIJING, Sept. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- The City of New York wants to save the lives of 18,000 residents a year by limiting the amount of trans fats to a half gram for every item on the menus of the city's 24,000 restaurants.

    According to a plan endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and approved by the city's board of health, New York's restaurants, cafes and street stalls will be forced to a half-gram limit of trans fats. One serving of chips can contain as much as eight grams.

    More and more health experts have been warning that hydrogenated fat could contribute to heart disease by raising blood cholesterol levels. Hydrogenation is a process whereby the fats are formed by subjecting oils to high temperatures, which stabilizes and solidifies them to make last longer. They are used in baked goods and for deep frying.

    Health professionals say the fats have no nutritional value and can raise the risk of heart disease, a condition that kills 18,000 New Yorkers under the age of 65 each year.

    The board of health established a December deadline for consultation, then restaurants will have until July to change to oils or margarine with less than a half gram per serving. The move would be "cost neutral" as alternatives could be bought at the same price, according to the board.

    Charles Hunt,vice president of the New York State Restaurant Association, said the new rule will have a negative affect on it 3,500 member restaurants. Hunt compared trans fat to smoking, eliciting a freedom of personal choice issue.

    "You choose what you eat and that [choice] only affects you," Hunt said. "We don't think it's appropriate for a non-elected body such as the health board to make a decision that will have a big effect on restaurants across New York City."

    New York leads the U.S. in density of food outlets, and about 50 percent use trans fats. Residents of the city also tend to eat out or order out more often than most Americans.

    The Big Apple tried a yearlong educational promotion to persuade outlets to shift voluntarily from trans fats, but the board of health concluded the program had minimal impact. Some big U.S. fast-food chains, including Starbucks and Wendy's, have indicated they will restrict trans fats. Enditem

    (Agencies)

Editor: Gareth Dodd
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