Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, backs the unanimous decision by the city’s Board of Health to phase out artificial trans-fats from its restaurants. The ban comes into force on 1st July next year by which time most frying oils must be free of artificial trans-fats. The city’s restaurants then have 12 months to eliminate artificial trans-fats from all their food by 1st July 2008.

Artificial trans-fats result from hydrogenating vegetable oils, the process food manufacturers use to make “slippery” liquid oils into more solid and stable “shortening” for use in frying, baking and confectionery products. It also makes oils less greasy and more spreadable, like softened butter.

For some time health officials have warned that diets high in trans-fats, which have joined the ranks of saturated fats in terms of health risks, contribute to obesity and heart disease.

Food manufacturers are gradually replacing vegetable oil high in trans- and saturated fats with non-hydrogenated alternatives, so it is gradually disappearing from the discerning consumer’s shopping basket. However, much of what we eat is not “product labelled”, for instance as in restaurant and take away food. New York is the first US city to seize the initiative in this less scrutinised contributor to our daily diet.

Click here for more information on the New York City Board of Health’s decision.

Written by: Catharine Paddock
Writer: Medical News Today