Consumer Health News
Massachusetts considering trans fat ban: would be first US state
Jul 12, 2007, 19:36 GMT
Washington - The north-eastern state of Massachusetts has moved closer to becoming the first US state to order restaurants to remove trans fats from the food they serve, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.
The newspaper said that the state's top association of restaurateurs had dropped its opposition to a bill before the state legislature to ban the substance blamed for clogging arteries, contributing to heart disease and feeding the US trend to obesity.
A similar ban approved in 2006 by New York City went into effect last week with little fuss, and the Big Apple's move has inspired other towns, and now, an entire state, to follow suit.
Restaurants have opposed the ban because trans fats are a staple product for baking and frying food, but the Massachusetts industry group said a state-wide ban would be better than a patchwork of local regulations.
In 2003, after a 10-year campaign by a public health interest group, the US government mandated that food producers add the amount of unhealthy transfatty acids to product labels.
Trans fat occurs in foods when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil in order to it a more solid consistency, though it also occurs naturally in dairy and other products. Along with saturated fats, trans fats are blamed for raising the so-called 'bad' cholesterol levels - low density lipoprotein (LDL) - that increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
To serve growing public awareness of trans fats' negative role, most snack food companies have removed the substance from their products and even advertise their absence.
The US Food and Drug Administration has estimated that reduced trans fat consumption could save between 900 million and 1.8 billion dollars a year in medical costs and lost productivity.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur