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Big Apple Bans Bad Fats: Move Over, New York Pizza!

December 6, 2006

St. Paul, MN - Minnesotans visiting New York City will soon see some menu changes when they dine out on the town. The city's health board voted Tuesday to ban artery-clogging trans-fats at restaurants. In Minnesota, American Heart Association spokeswoman Sueling Schardin says the additives are linked to heart disease.

"Trans-fatty acids tend to increase your bad cholesterol and decrease your good cholesterol, so it really doesn't do anything great for your body."

She explains the fats are formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats, and are found in common in highly processed foods, including cookies, crackers, pancakes and pizzas. Shoppers can check for them by reading the product ingredients.

"If you buy packages of crackers or cookies in the store, look at the food label for ingredients like 'hydrogenated coconut oil,' 'hydrogenated soybean oil,' or 'partially hydrogenated.'"

Some chain restaurants, such as Wendy's, KFC and Taco Bell have recently announced moves to cut trans-fats from their menus nationwide. However, restaurant industry officials say the ban is unrealistic and bad for business. Food producers say fats make food taste better and last longer, but city officials say public health is more important.

The total New York restaurant ban takes effect in July 2008. There has been no similar effort in Minnesota.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN