California Bans Trans Fats, What and Where Is Next?

January 08, 2010

New Year’s resolutions usually include a clause promising oneself to practice healthier habits.

New Year’s resolutions usually include a clause promising oneself to practice healthier habits. Sometimes this involves eating more nutritious foods or exercising. New Year’s resolutions for Californian residents, yes all 36+ million of them, have been made that much easier with the newly implemented statewide trans fat ban. Signed into law in July 2008, restaurant chefs have had two and half years to plan for the January 1, 2010 implementation date, and can no longer cook with the omnipresent, cheap-artery-clogging oils used in most restaurant food preparations.
All oils, margarines and shortenings used in frying and cooking must contain less than 0.5 percent trans fat per serving; violators face up to $1,000 fines. Exempt until 2011 are baked and deep fried items that use trans fats. A similar ban exists in New York City, Philadelphia and in parts of Maryland. 
It’s obvious that we’re moving in the trans fat-free direction in all food sectors; remember back in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required all food manufacturers to list trans fatty acids on packaged food’s Nutrition Facts labels. Singling out these artificial oils on foods prompted many manufacturers to remove them altogether from their products. 
Undoubtedly the attention will return to the harmful health effects of consuming trans fats, and moreover, the benefits of consuming a diet high in polyunsaturated heart healthy fats will take center stage.  Consider creating end caps that showcase healthy oils like olive, sunflower, hemp and walnut, along with products that contain these extraordinary oils. 
With bans in place, and until production and adoption of healthier oils is put in place across America, consumers and manufacturers can expect higher prices on prepared and packaged foods but at a cost that is truly priceless: America’s health. Consumers are already privy to limiting trans fat intake, if they are knowing consuming these fats at all; implementing a government enforced ban may seem extreme to some but if these fats are truly as harmful as study after study have shown, we should be more than thankful they are being phased out of our food supply.