My home city of Boston has found itself in the news this week, and not just because of Tom Brady’s knee injury. On Saturday, the city officially banned trans fats in all of the city’s restaurants and other businesses that make and sell prepared foods.
In doing so, Boston became the third MenuPages city to make that move (New York’s ban was enacted in July 2007 and Philadelphia’s came into effect in September of the same year; a statewide ban in California is set to take effect in 2010).
From a public health standpoint, the benefits of a trans fat ban are clear: 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. There’s also little evidence that cutting out the Crisco is detrimental to a product’s taste.
Truthfully, for all the hoopla about trimming the trans fats in Boston, the ban has had little effect. Why? Well, for one thing, the legislature voted for the ban in April, giving local chefs plenty of time to cut the offending ingredients from their menus. For another, although the bill has been stalled as of late, Massachusetts as a whole has been flirting with a trans fat ban since July. Finally, this being Boston, the importance of Dunkin’ Donuts’ victory in developing a doughnut with zero grams of trans fats cannot be overestimated.
Trans Fats Now Banned In Boston Restaurants [Boston Globe]