December 7, 2006
The New York City Board of Health’s decision to ban trans fats from restaurants may prevent thousands of premature deaths, and it serves as a model for other cities around the world, according to a leading authority on trans fats’ harmful health effects.
"The New York City Board of Health deserves applause for its decision to ban trans fat in city restaurants," says Walter Willett, the Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition in the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. "This will save many hundreds, and probably thousands, of premature deaths each year in New York and will also likely reduce the development of type 2 diabetes and dementia."
The first-in-the-nation ban, which was approved on December 5, calls for New York City restaurants to phase out use of artificial trans fats over the next 18 months. The city’s Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene will offer restaurants and bakeries culinary technical support, to help them make the switch to trans fat-free food preparation methods.
"This is sound public health practice, akin to providing safe water, where everyone will have healthier food and not even notice the difference," Willet says. "Also, this sets a standard for other cities, and the world, to follow. Of course this action by New York has only been necessary because the current Food and Drug Administration leadership has neglected its duty to protect the safety of the food supply by allowing trans fat to be sold under the category of ‘Generally Regarded as Safe’."
Read Dr. Willett’s testimony on the trans fat ban.
Read Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian’s testimony on the trans fat ban.
Read the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene’s press release on the ban.
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