Earlier today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a new classification for trans fats that would essentially ban partially hydrogenated oils from being used in food.
While the proposal has reignited a national debate government regulation and public health, other parts of the U.S. have had trans fat bans for years. As with many public health laws, New York led the way with a limited ban on trans fats that was passed back in 2006. Philadelphia months later followed with its own trans fat ban. Many larger U.S. cities now ban trans fats from use in local restaurants.
Having led the charge for the trans fat ban, New York Michael Bloomberg took today’s news as an opportunity to brag about his city’s foresight in leading the way to a trans fat ban.
“Seven years ago we became the first city in the nation to prohibit restaurants from using trans fats,” said Bloomberg. “Since then, at least 15 states and localities have followed suit and banned trans fats – and more than ten fast food chains have eliminated trans fats entirely. Today, we’re greatly encouraged that the FDA proposed measures that would virtually eliminate the artery-clogging and unnecessary ingredient from our nation’s food supply.”
The mayor went on to point out other public health initiatives that New York has led the way on. The city was one of the first to ban smoking in restaurants, a health measure that has now spread widely throughout the U.S. The city was also first to require restaurants to provide calorie information for their menus, something that is now mandated in the U.S.
“Our prohibition on trans fats was one of many bold public health measures that faced fierce initial criticism, only to gain widespread acceptance and support,” said Bloomberg. “Smoke-free restaurants and bars are now the norm in much of the country and increasingly around the world. Calorie counts are now required at all restaurants chains in the United States. The groundbreaking public health policies we have adopted here in New York City have become a model for the nation for one reason: they’ve worked. Today, New Yorkers’ life expectancy is far higher than the national average, and we’ve achieved dramatic reductions in disease, including heart disease. The FDA deserves great credit for taking this step, which will help Americans live longer, healthier lives.”