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Trans fat

Australian city debates trans fat ban after NYC takes action

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: trans fat, hydrogenated oils, trans fat ban


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(NewsTarget) The council of Waverly, Australia is considering a campaign to phase out deadly trans fats from hundreds of restaurants across an area that includes the Bondi and Bronte restaurant strips, after a similar ban was passed in NYC. Former Waverley mayor Mora Main is leading the campaign, saying the council might lack the power to regulate use of trans fats, but could ban it from its own services while encouraging businesses to do the same.

Trans fats -- which result from the use of hydrogenated oils -- have been shown to drastically increase blood cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease along with other ailments. Hydrogenated oils are widely used because they are cheap and give foods a longer shelf life.

Main says, "People are only starting to be very conscious of how much of a killer trans fat is, but we still have a long way to go I'd like the council to do a report into whether its powers extend to banning it altogether in food outlets. We may not have that power, but we could lobby the NSW Health Department to take up the matter."

The Waverly council was expected to approve a proposal to deliver educational material about the risks of trans fats to cafes, restaurants and other food outlets in the Waverley area. In addition, the council was also likely to ban the fats from its own child-care centers and services like Meals on Wheels, which provides foods for the needy.

It's unknown if Waverly's attempts will have an effect across other communities in Australia, but the city is following New York City's lead regardless. With trans fats set to be banned in New York City in July 2007, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- who has already banned smoking in bars and restaurants -- said city health officials had estimated the change could save "a couple of hundred lives a year".

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