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Final Phase Of Trans Fat Regulation Takes Effect In NYC

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
Final Phase Of Trans Fat Regulation Takes Effect In NYC

Effective today, New York City restaurants will be safer for the hearts of New Yorkers. The final phase of the City’s trans fat regulation takes effect today, July 1, requiring restaurants to clear artificial trans fat from all their menu items. The first phase, implemented last year, applied to fry oils and spreads. It will now cover previously excluded items such as baked goods, frozen foods, cannoli, and doughnuts as well. As of tomorrow, all foods served, including baked goods, oils, shortenings and margarines used for baking, and pre-prepared items that contain artificial trans fat, must have less that 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. Foods served in the manufacturer’s original, sealed packaging, such as candy and crackers, are still exempt.

Acceptance of the first phase of the trans fat regulation has been very high, with more than 98% of inspected restaurants in compliance as of last month. Some food chains and cooking oil manufacturers have not only eliminated trans fat but also reduced saturated fat by 20% to 35% in certain fried foods, further boosting the health benefit for consumers.

In early June, the Trans Fat Help Center mailed brochures on baking without artificial trans fat to all 25,000 New York City food service establishments and to New York State food suppliers serving the city. Information on baking without trans fat is available at www.citytech.cuny.edu . Most large bakery suppliers will include the brochures with the orders they ship in July.

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“I made the transition seven months ago,” said Saul Haye, owner of Christie’s Jamaican Patties in Brooklyn. “Cooking my patties and baked goods with replacement shortenings hasn’t hurt the products or my business, and it’s healthier for my customers.”

Since New York City passed the artificial trans fat regulation for restaurant food, new “0 grams” trans fat products have come on to the market, increasing the options for restaurant owners and bakers. The Trans Fat Help Center’s baking tests have demonstrated the workability of new “0 grams trans fat” baking shortenings and margarines – most recipes do not need to be changed, and the new products can even perform better than the old ones.

“Chocolate chips, sprinkles and baking margarines are all now available without artificial trans fat,” said Laura Stanley, Coordinator of the Trans Fat Help Center. “In many cases, bakers don’t need to switch brands; they’ll simply order new formulations of familiar products. We found that some of these products actually worked better than the old versions made with artificial trans fat.”

The Health Department, with support from the American Heart Association, launched the Trans Fat Help Center at New York City College of Technology last year to help restaurants and other food service establishments switch from artificial trans fat to more healthful fats and oil. The Help Center continues to offer the following resources at no cost to restaurants:

Help Line: Restaurants can call 311 to reach the Trans Fat Help Line for information on the regulation and for advice from culinary experts on how to reformulate their products. Assistance is available in Spanish, Chinese, and in more than 150 other languages through interpreters.