New York will remove trans fat food from restaurants

New York City wants avoid its citizens of trans fat, which is an ingredient of dishes served in New York restaurants.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said the voluntary change could also help fight the city's biggest killer, heart disease.

To comply, chefs would have to dump many margarines and frying oils.

The New York State Restaurant Association backed the move, its executive vice-president, E Charles Hunt, said on Wednesday.

The fats, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, raise diners' chances of developing heart disease, Robert Eckel, president of the American Heart Association was quoted as saying by AP.

"To help combat heart disease, the No. 1 killer in New York City, we are asking restaurants to voluntarily make an oil change and remove artificial trans fat from their kitchens," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city's health commissioner, told the Times.

According to the Times, the city plans to conduct another survey next year to determine the effectiveness of the campaign and will then assess what further steps might be needed.

"Trans fat clearly contributes to heart disease, but it is something that is relatively new to the consumer environment," Dr. Sonia Angell, the department's director of cardiovascular disease prevention and control, told the newspaper.

Angell told the Times that common monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils like olive, peanut, sunflower and cottonseed oils are good alternatives to partially hydrogenated oil.

The newspaper said the city was careful to solicit the endorsement of the Restaurant Association before announcing its campaign, as well as the American Heart Association. However, many restaurant owners, workers and patrons interviewed by the newspaper met the city's campaign with some skepticism.

Karen Quam, a waitress at the Bridgeview Diner in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge section, told the newspaper: "Labeling is as far as you want to go. You don't want to be telling people what to eat."

Three decades ago trans fats were promoted as a healthy alternative to saturated fats like butter, according to the newspaper, but today, most experts agree they are the most dangerous type of fat in America, Guardian reminds.

The Food and Drug Administration has already targeted trans fats. From January, all foods containing the chemically modified oils must be labelled.

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