September 18, 2007
Nassau County Board of Health Votes to Ban Artificial Trans Fats from Restaurants
Following two public hearings and reviewing public and written comments, the Nassau County Board of Health today voted to restrict the use of artificial trans fats from all permitted food service establishments in Nassau County. This ban does not apply to food that is being served directly to patrons in a manufacturer’s original sealed package.
The new regulations will limit artificially produced trans fats including the use of margarine, shortening or partially-hydrogenated oils, to products that contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving.
The trans fat restrictions shall take effect on April 1, 2008 with respect to oils, shortenings and margarines containing artificial trans fats that are used for frying or in spreads. For oils or shortening used for baking, the effective date shall be April 1, 2009.
The regulations will be enforced by Health Department inspectors by checking the labels of frying oils and other products which might contain trans fat. Products that are sold in their original sealed packaging are exempt from these regulations, as these are regulated at the national level by the FDA.
Board of Health Chairperson Norma J. Henriksen stated that: “Leading health organizations recommend that individuals should limit their intake of trans fats. By taking this action, we can help our residents lead a healthier life style. This action is one more positive step for the County Executive’s Healthy Nassau initiative.”
The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that individuals should reduce their consumption of trans fats. Major food sources of artificial trans fats include cakes, cookies, crackers, french fried potatoes, potato chips, household shortenings and salad dressings. Substitutes for trans fats include canola, soy and corn oil that are not hydrogenated, or newly-developed trans fat free oils.
Consumption of trans fats may increase blood cholesterol and the risk for heart disease. Researchers at Harvard University estimate that trans fat increases the risk for heart disease by about 10-20%, leading to an additional 72,000 to 228,000 heart attacks per year in the United States. In Nassau County, there are approximately 5,000 deaths per year from cardiovascular disease.
Article XIV - Nassau County Public Health Ordinance - Foods Containing Artificial Trans Fats
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