Can they do this?
New York City Plans Sharp Limits on Restaurants’ Use of Trans Fats
By THOMAS J. LUECK
Published: September 27, 2006
The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously yesterday to move forward with plans to prohibit the city’s 20,000 restaurants from serving food that contains more than a minute amount of artificial trans fats, the chemically modified ingredients considered by doctors and nutritionists to increase the risk of heart disease.
The board, which is authorized to adopt the plan without the consent of any other agency, did not take that step yesterday, but it set in motion a period for written public comments, leading up a public hearing on Oct. 30 and a final vote in December.
Yesterday’s initiative appeared to ensure that the city would eventually take some formal action against artificial trans fats. If approved, the proposal voted on yesterday by the Board of Health would make New York the first large city in the country to strictly limit such fats in restaurants. Chicago is considering a similar prohibition affecting restaurants with less than $20 million in annual sales.
The New York prohibition would affect the city’s entire restaurant industry, by far the nation’s largest, from McDonald’s to fashionable bistros to street corner takeouts across the five boroughs.
The city would set a limit of a half-gram of artificial trans fats per serving of any menu item, sharply reducing most customers’ intake. The fats are commonly found in baked goods, like doughnuts and cakes, as well as breads and salad dressing.
Officials said that the typical American diet now contains 5.8 grams of trans fats per day, and that a single five-ounce serving of French fries at many restaurants contained 8 grams of trans fats.
Members of the Board of Health, all mayoral appointees, expressed vigorous support for the proposal, which was drafted by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The board members said that the initiative could set an example for the nation, and that New York City should play a leading role because of its high rate of heart disease and because New Yorkers consume more restaurant meals and takeout food than most Americans.
The proposal met immediate resistance among restaurant owners, who said banning trans fats would raise their costs and change the taste of some items. “I’m wondering if there are grounds for a lawsuit,” said E. Charles Hunt, executive vice president of the New York State Restaurant Association, which represents about 3,500 restaurants in the city.
Does the city have the power to regulate what people serve in food? I honestly don't know.
posted by Steve @ 12:07:00 AM