Like Thanksgiving leftovers, New York City’s proposed trans fat ban is getting less appealing every day. Only a few months ago, food scolds nationwide were billing the ban — slated for a vote in late December by the city’s Board of Health — as an open-and-shut case of legislative common sense. But as the details of the proposal emerge, it has become progressively clearer that a ban would cause more problems than it solves. This week’s Economist magazine does a great job of summarizing the more popular reservations:
The American Heart Association (hardly a yes-man for the food industry) notes that the phase-out may be too speedy: “If appropriate substitutes are not widely available in the food supply-chain, restaurants may substitute saturated fats, which are also strongly associated with the development of heart disease.” …
The city’s approach is also somewhat arbitrary. Only artificial TFAs are banned, not those naturally found at low levels in milk or cheese; and packaged foods and home-cooked meals are completely exempt. Besides, because this is a municipal rather than a federal ordinance, it is bound to be leaky. New Yorkers craving an authentically unhealthy Dunkin’ Donut or KFC biscuit can just cross the river to wild and woolly New Jersey.
On a related note: if you picked up this week’s US News & World Report, you might have caught our ad for a fictional law firm specializing in consumer “addictions.” Trans fat fanatics in particular are in luck, because the office of Shakem, Downe & Bolt is running a December special for “addicts” of that devilish ingredient.