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Artificial Trans Fat Banned in Chain Restaurant in King County

The King County Board of Health on Thursday banned artificial trans fat and required nutrition labeling for menu items in chain restaurants. The ban The measure applies to Seattle and most of its suburbs despite objections from restaurant owners and food-industry officials.

Trans fats, produced when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, increase the shelf life and improve the flavor of foods. but have been linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

The menu labeling rule only affects chain restaurants with 10 or more outlets and that have standardized menu items. Starting in August 2008, those restaurants will be required to list calories on menu boards, and calories, carbohydrates, saturated fat, and sodium on printed menus.

With the vote, King County joins a handful of jurisdictions in the country to ban artificial trans fats in restaurant meals and becomes only the second to require nutrition labeling on menus. A nutritional labeling requirement and ban on trans fats in restaurants took effect July 1 in New York. Like a New York City regulation adopted last December, King Countys artificial trans fat phase out occurs in two steps. Food service establishments have until April 1, 2008, to switch to trans-fat-free frying oils and shortenings and until February 1, 2009, to remove artificial trans fat from other products.

"This legislation is being driven by an obesity epidemic," board Chairwoman Julia L. Patterson said. "This is a very important element in helping to end that." health providers and a number of diabetic and heart patients in the standing-room-only crowd said customers deserve to have enough information to make healthful choices.

From coast to coast, cities and counties are starting to take bold steps to help their citizens eat healthfully at restaurants, which are supplying more of Americas calories than ever before, said CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan. The King County
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