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Call to ban trans fats at NYC restaurants

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Health Department will call for a ban on the trans fats at city restaurants at a news conference this afternoon.

The health commissioner, Thomas Frieden, will propose changing the city health code to ban trans fats from being served by city restaurants.

Frieden, whose health activism is strongly supported by Mayor Bloomberg, believes changing the health code could help fight heart disease, the city's biggest killer. Frieden proposed a voluntary ban last year, but it appears few restaurants took his advice.

If the health code were changed, all city restaurants would have to dump many margarines and frying oils, and possibly rework long-held recipes for baked goods.

The trans fats, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, raise diners' chances of developing heart disease in much the same way that saturated meat and dairy fats do, raising overall and bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol.

The Food and Drug Administration has already targeted trans fats. Nationwide, all foods containing the chemically modified oils must be labeled.

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