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French Fries in New York Get Healthier With Trans-Fat Crackdown

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French Fries in New York Get Healthier With Trans-Fat Crackdown

French fries at restaurants run by McDonald’s Corp, Wendy’s / Arby’s Group Inc and privately held White Castle Restaurants have 98 percent less trans fat and 10 percent less saturated fat in New York since the city’s health commission banned artificial trans fats in restaurants, a study found.

Eating establishments that switched to fry oils with no trans fat reported the change didn’t increase costs and that there weren’t any supply problems, according to a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. So far, there have been no negative economic consequences to New York’s ban on trans fat, the food ingredient linked to heart disease, the authors wrote.

New York City’s Board of Health approved the first mandated U.S. ban on trans fat in cooking oils in December 2006, requiring the city’s 24,000 food establishments to eliminate the substance. Fines for violations vary from $200 to $2,000. Since the New York law was enacted, 12 U.S. local governments and the state of California have adopted similar measures, according to the report.

“We said trans fat is bad for your health and, like lead in paint, nobody’s going to miss it,” Lynn Dee Silver, the assistant commissioner for chronic disease at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and a study author, said today in a telephone interview. “Now, it’s mostly gone and nobody’s missing it.”

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