Big Apple going trans-fat free

NEW YORK -- Health-conscious travelers will find the latest thing in the city to their taste.

New York today became the first city in the United States to ban trans-fats in restaurant food, a ban that takes place in the midst of debate over numerous studies proclaiming an obesity epidemic, particularly among younger and lower income people.

Trans-fats have been linked to heart disease, and blamed for raising levels of undesireable LDL in cholesterol while lowering the levels of desireable HDL.

Common foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, a common form of trans-fats, include such things as processed foods, baked goods, pizza dough and cracjers.

"It's basically a slow form of poison," David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, told the Associated Press. "I applaud New York City and frankly, I think there should be a nationwide ban."

The ban isn't without its detractors. Many food industry representatives claim the city exceeded its authority in ordering restaurants to abandon an ingredient that is permitted by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

"This is a legal product," said E. Charles Hunt, executive vice president of the New York State Restaurant Association. "They're headed down a slippery slope here."

As far as a phase-in is concerned, the city's Board of Health says restaurants will be barred by July 2007 from using most frying oils containing trans-fats, and one more year to eliminate trans-fats from all foods.
• Revealing trans-fats
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