Philadelphia bans trans fat in restaurants

by Jeff Gelski
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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia City Council on Feb. 8 unanimously passed legislation to prohibit the use of artificial trans fat in restaurants and eating establishments in the city. The ban will take effect Sept. 1, 2007, for oils, shortenings and margarines containing artificial trans fat that are used for frying or in spreads. The ban will take effect on Sept. 1, 2008, for all other uses of foods containing artificial trans fat.

According to the law, a food service establishment is a place where food or drink is prepared or served for consumption, either on the premises or elsewhere. Examples include restaurants, grills, diners, sandwich shops, dining rooms of hotels, coffee shops, cafeterias, taverns, market stalls, vending carts, vending vehicles and other similar places.

A food shall be deemed to contain artificial trans fat "if the food is labeled as, lists as an ingredient, contains or is vegetable shortening, margarine or any kind of partially hydrogenated oil." Exceptions are cases where the trans fat content of the food is less than 0.5 grams per serving on the nutrition facts label or other documentation from the manufacturer.

New York City already has passed a law banning trans fat in restaurants. Its first phase will go into effect July 1.

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