Sabtu, 02 Agustus 2008

California Bans Trans Fats

The State of California has banned the use of trans fats in most food products. The ban goes into effect for all restaurant products in 2010 and for all retail baked goods in 2011. Packaged foods will not be affected, however.

Trans fats are created by bubbling hydrogen through liquid oil at high temperature. The resultant partially hydrogenated oil is a solid at room temperature. Trans fats prolong the shelf life and (some say) improve the flavor of foods. They were popular as a deep-frying oil until it became apparent that they raise the levels of low-density lipoproteins (the bad cholesterol), thereby potentially contributing to heart disease. Some restaurant chains, most notably McDonalds, have already discontinued the use of trans fats in their deep-fryers, and other chains are following suit.

The California ban raises an interesting question: Whose responsibility is it to legislate our health? The California Restaurant Association argued (unsuccessfully) that it should be the federal government, not the states – otherwise, restaurants with outlets in many states could face a wide array of different rules.

But if the government won’t act, should the states be allowed to? Until California’s law is challenged in federal courts, the answer is “Yes”. What do YOU think?

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