Restaurant Industry Can't Stop Trans Fat Grease Fire

New York City, with the support of Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg, aggressively is moving forward to ban trans fats from restaurants--the stuff that says “hydrogenated” before the word oil in fast foods, snacks and many other processed and restaurant foods. Other cities are contemplating similar action. Where once the ingredient was thought to be a good substitute for saturated fats, more recent medical research has found that heart disease-related deaths are significantly increased by consumption of hydrogenated fat. But the restaurant industry has sent in its PR troops, local and national: the city would be violating consumers’ rights; ethnic restaurants disproportionately could be harmed by removing the harmful fats; smoking may injure others but the hydrogenating individual hurts only herself. Writing in the New York Post, the Center for Consumer Freedom offered a medieval archetype, and urged New Yorkers that "FRANS" would have been happier to eat trans fats than die of typhoid. E. Charles Hunt of the New York State Restaurant Association offered an alternative hyperbole for the city's restaurants: the ban would be "a recipe for disaster."