Brookline Becomes First To Ban Trans Fats
Town Approves Trans Fat Ban
POSTED: 2:55 am EDT June 1, 2007
BOSTON -- Brookline became the first in Massachusetts to ban trans fats Thursday night.
The town's 200 restaurants and all of its schools have until November 2008 to squeeze the trans fats out of their menus.
The proposal was passed during Town Meeting. It was an overwhelming decision with a vote of 194-11.
Supporters of the ban argued that the health benefits of the ban outweigh any inconvenience to businesses. Critics called it intrusive and misleading.
Restaurants that use the fatty oil for frying have until Nov. 30, 2008 to eliminate trans fats from their menus. Baked goods must by trans fat free by April 30, 2009. For those having difficulty complying with the ban, there is a six-month hardship waiver they can apply for that will allow them extra time to come into compliance.
The ban does not apply to pre-packaged items such as Twinkies.
A small amount of trans fats occur naturally in some foods so the ban means foods cannot contain more than one-half a gram of trans fats.
Research has shown that trans fats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. They're created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. While they sometimes improve the taste and shelf life of foods, they have also been added to an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
In July, the state Legislature will consider a statewide trans fats ban.