California bans trans-fat
Following the footsteps of New York City, Seattle and Philadelphia, the state of California is now banning restaurants and food retailers from using trans-fats, which are linked to coronary heart disease. This makes California the first US state to ban the unhealthy ingredient. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the new legislation, which will take effect in 2010, represented a “strong step toward creating a healthier future”. Hooray for the Californians!
Trans-fats are produced artificially in a process called hydrogenation which turns liquid oil into solid fat. In effect, they are chemically altered vegetable oils and are used to give processed foods a longer shelf-life. Trans-fats are cheap, add bulk to products, and have a neutral flavor. Many food chains have also been experimenting with replacements for oils and foods that contain them in the wake of the banning. Violations will incur fines of between $25 (£13) and $1,000 (£502).