“No foods containing artificial trans fat … shall be stored, distributed, held for service, used in preparation of any menu item or served in any food service establishment.”
—NYC Board of Health Notice of Adoption, December 5, 2006
In 2007, policymakers in the Big Apple garnered national attention when they banned trans fats from most of the city’s restaurants. The Big Brother regulation passed in large part due to the insistence of Mayor Bloomberg and his sidekick, Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden. Interestingly, this month’s issue of Wired magazine caught Bloomberg in a spectacular display of hypocrisy, snacking on what Newsday called “those very same dangerous fats.” The paper also noted: “They may be too unhealthy for regular New Yorkers to eat, but not so for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, apparently.”
With egg on its face, Bloomberg’s camp attempted damage control through a press statement: “The mayor is in favor of labeling and making informed choices.” But, just like his snack habits, the mayor’s actions speak louder than words. And his platform shows little room for consumer choice. During his term, Bloomberg has banned smoking in bars and restaurants, restricted a French cooking technique called sous vide, and forced the hospitality industry to replace margarine in its recipes.
Apparently, these paternalist interventions only apply to those outside of City Hall. When visiting the city to testify before the Board of Health, we witnessed a bodega inside the Department of Health selling the exact same snacks the food czar disparages. (We snapped this photo for our scrapbook.)