California banning trans fats in restaurants

by Staff
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SACRAMENTO — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill, AB 97, that will require California restaurants to phase out the use of trans fats in all foods except baked products by 2010 and also from all baked products by 2011.

"This is more than just legislation, this is a call to action that takes into consideration the health of our families," said Tony Mendoza, California assemblyman and author of the bill. "We are taking a risk when we consume food and products that contain trans fats. This is an invisible and dangerous ingredient that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure – it had to be eliminated."

The measure also includes provisions for $25 to $1,000 fines for violations.

"We are confident that our members will be able to meet the mandate because restaurants are already phasing out trans fats voluntarily," said Daniel Conway, spokesperson for the California Restaurant Association. "But we are concerned. We oppose the bill because we feel that these kinds of decisions should be made at the federal level by agencies such as the F.D.A."

Mr. Conway said the restaurants that will feel the impact the most are independent "mom and pop" restaurants.

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