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Healthy move

Sep 30, 2008 | From the print edition

california has become the first state in the us to ban trans-fats in food sold in
restaurants and bakeries. Trans-fats, used to extend the shelf life of food products, have been linked to clogged arteries, diabetes, and other

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law, according to which by January 1, 2010, California's restaurants are required to use
margarines, oils and shortening containing less than half a gramme of trans-fats per serving, and standards for deep-fried bakery products are to
be adopted by January 1, 2011. Violations could invite fines of us $25 to us $1,000.
The law covers restaurants, bakeries, cafeterias and other businesses classified as "food facilities". These will have to label their cooking
products so that health inspectors can check them for trans-fats. New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle and Montgomery County, Maryland, have
ordinances banning trans-fats, but California is the first state to adopt such a law covering restaurants. California and Oregon already had laws
banning trans-fats in meals served at schools.

The us Food and Drug Administration estimates that on average, Americans eat 4.7lb (2.14kg) of trans-fats each
year. A review by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 estimated that eliminating artificial trans-fats from food supply could
prevent 6 to 19 per cent cases of heart attacks and related deaths each year.

The president of the California Academy of Family Physicians, Jeffrey Luther, said the law "will be a tremendous benefit".The California
Restaurant Association has opposed the bill, saying that the Food and Drug Administration rather than states be allowed to develop regulations
on trans-fat use. But it has no plans to challenge the law.


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