|Hold the fries |
| City aims to ban trans fats|
The Health Department is embarking on an ambitious double-barreled program to force restaurants to stop using trans fats and to reveal caloric contents of its food.
A major target would be fast-food restaurants, which many health experts say contribute to an explosion of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
"The largest single cause of premature death in our city is heart disease. We cannot wave a magic wand and change that," Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said yesterday. "By taking artificial trans fats out of our restaurant environment we can significantly reduce health risks for all New Yorkers."
Frieden wants to change the city health code so that all restaurants will be banned from using trans fats by July 2008. He also wants restaurants that serve standard-size portions - like fast-food joints - to put calorie information on menus.
Health inspectors would enforce the fat crackdown by checking for trans fat ingredients during annual restaurant inspections.
Violators would be slapped with fines ranging from $200 to $2,000.
But many restaurants want Mayor Bloomberg's administration - already responsible for some of the toughest anti-smoking regulations in the world - to stay out of their kitchens.
Stage Deli manager Barry Orenstein said his customers don't need nutrition lectures.
"Our customers don't come in here and ask if we have trans fats," he said. "They come in to relax and eat.
Chuck Hunt, executive vice president of the New York State Restaurant Association, questioned whether the proposal was constitutional.
"The smoking ban was only successful when they determined that smoking hurt second hand smokers," he said. "But if you choose to eat something that someone else tells you is not healthy for you, that's your choice."
Frieden pointed out that thousands of city restaurants already prepare food without trans fats.
"We took it out of our frying oils," said Kenneth Woods, president of Sylvia's, the famed Harlem soul food restaurant.
McDonald's corporate bosses said the No.1 burger chain has already taken steps to make nutritional information more readily available to customers and is also working on cutting down on trans fats.
New York is not alone in the war against trans fats. In Denmark, no more than 2% of a food's fat content can be made up of trans fats - a standard Canada also is considering."
Yes. Eat your veggies and stop complaining that spinach kills people because at least it doesn't make you fat so you can leave a thin corpse.
New York City and the war against being human.
The nanny's NEVER sleep.