An article in Saturday’s Globe revealed that Brookline is seriously considering banning trans fats from city restaurants and schools at its May 29 town meeting. This move would put Brookline, which banned smoking in bars and restaurants a full eleven years before Massachusetts did so on a statewide basis, ahead of the national curve once again. Trans fats (artificially-manufactured oils) have been under fierce fire since a 2006 article in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that they can cause “considerable potential harm, but no apparent benefit” and reduce good cholesterol while upping the bad kind. New York and Philadelphia have already banned trans fats in restaurants and schools and the Massachusetts legislature will debate a statewide ban this summer.
We’re all for eliminating or reducing artificial foodstuffs and god knows we’re really not inclined towards libertarianism, but we see a big issues with banning trans fats outright. Some things just taste better with a dab or two of Crisco. Dunkin Donuts has been wrestling with the question of how to make tasty donuts without using trans fats since 2004 and still has not come up with a solution. While items that are usually fried in oil containing trans fats could be fried in other substances, the transition is not unproblematic. We love olive oil, but some items just don’t take to it. You could also fry things in butter or animal fat, but then you’d be excluding vegetarians and vegans as well as quite possibly those who keep kosher or halal and Hindus. If we had our druthers, trans fats would be banned in schools (since there’s really no reason school meals should be as wildly unhealthy as they currently are) and incentives would be offered to restaurateurs to eliminate trans fat from their menus without being forced to do so. If you’re a Brooklinian and you have strong opinions either way about the ban, make plans to hit up the town meeting on May 29 at 7:00 at Brookline High. Bonus! If you attend, you can also find out why Brookline is allocating almost sixteen million dollars to improvements on Town Hall.
Brookline Donuts and French Fries Might Taste Different [Bostonist]
Brookline Considers Trans Fat Ban [Boston Globe]
Trans Fat Could Be Banned From All Brookline Restaurants [Brookline Tab]
Trans Fat [Wikipedia]
Annual Town Meeting Warrant [Town of Brookline]