Life Let them eat cake (?)
Censorship’s no longer just for smokers—New York and Chicago health officials are considering citywide restaurant bans on artificial trans fatty acids (i.e. the flavor in your favorite fry and the stuffing in your heart attack) by 2008.
The [New York] city health department unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would bar cooks at any of the city’s 24,600 food service establishments from using ingredients that contain the artery-clogging substance, commonly listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated oil.
Artificial trans fats are found in some shortenings, margarine and frying oils and turn up in foods from pie crusts to french fries to doughnuts.
A similar ban on trans fats in restaurant food has been proposed in Chicago and… would only apply to companies with annual revenues of more than $20 million, a provision aimed exclusively at fast-food giants.
Health officials have argued for years that trans fats hold no nutritional value and are a “dangerous and unnecessary ingredient,â€ť as NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden put it. Trans fats can easily be substituted for healthier oils with little or no tasty difference, in fact, the article mentions several foods and companies who have already made the switch—Wendy’s, Crisco (yum!), Doritos, Cheetos, and Oreos.
But foodie freedom fighters are protesting that the bans are unwarranted and intrusive government regulation. Some are sure to argue that they’re taking the [unconstitutional! burdensome! mean!] citywide smoking bans to the next hysterical level.
When our country is waist deep in an obesity crisis, should health officials have the power to tell citizens what they can and cannot eat?