Legislation & Lobbying

Calif. is 1st State to Ban Restaurants from Using Trans Fat

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With a stroke of the pen today, California’s health-conscious Republican governor, movie actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, terminated restaurants’ use of trans fats.

The statewide ban on cooking with unhealthy oils and margarine at commercial eateries won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2010, at the earliest, under the enacted legislation he signed. However, some restaurants have already made the change and others may be encouraged not to wait until the last minute to comply, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Those that have already taken such steps ahead of the law range from Burger King to Spago Beverly Hills, the newspaper notes.

The new law is modeled after one previously adopted by New York City, notes the International Herald Tribune.

“California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats,” says Schwarzenegger, a five-time Mr. Universe. “Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California.”

Once the law is effective, violations are expected to be enforced with fines of between $25 and $1,000. The law will not apply to food items sold that are still contained in sealed manufacturer packages.

Additional coverage:

Associated Press: “California bans restaurants from using trans fats”

San Francisco Chronicle: “Gov. signs nation’s first statewide ban on trans fats in restaurants”

Booster Shots (Los Angeles Times): “Again: ‘Trans-fat free’ does not mean ‘good for you’ “

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