California bans trans fats in restaurants

July 26th, 2008 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger
San Francisco, July 26 (DPA) The governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a law banning trans fats in restaurants. The measure will make California the only state in the US with such a tough ban. The measure signed Friday is likely to lead many of the country’s fast food chains to change their menus to comply with California’s restrictions on the heart-damaging fat.

“California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats,” said Schwarzenegger, former Mr Universe and action movie star. “Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California.”

The law will go into effect in 2010 when trans fats will be banned in restaurants. A year later they will be banned in baked goods too. The law covers bakeries, restaurants, cafeterias and other food facilities. But it exempts food sold in manufacturer sealed packaging. Violations would incur fines of $25 to $1,000.

Trans fats - found in oils, margarines and shortenings - have been found in scientific studies to increase bad cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease, and contribute to other diseases, such as diabetes and coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is California’s leading cause of death.

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