The busybodies in the California legislature have approved the first statewide ban on trans fats. Will Gov. Schwarzenegger actually sign this junk science meddle-gislation? Is this the kind of “rebranding” of the Republican Party Schwarzenegger wants the national GOP to adopt?
California is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban restaurants and other food facilities from using trans fats, which are known to increase the risk of heart disease, under a bill approved by the state Legislature Monday and sent to the governor.
The measure, passed with a bare majority, comes two weeks after a similar ban in New York City became fully effective. California doctor and consumer groups support the law, while restaurant groups have offered a lukewarm response. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a position, a spokesman said.
Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia (Los Angeles County), who wrote AB97, said the measure is intended to promote the health of Californians.
“When it comes to heart disease and diabetes, communities of color are leading the way,” Mendoza said. “I figured that the use of trans fats in our restaurants is a leading contributor to that.”
Mendoza’s bill would require restaurants, hospitals and facilities with food-preparation areas to remove oils, shortenings and margarines with trans fats by Jan. 1, 2010, except for use in deep frying for dough and batter. Bakers would be given an extra year to figure out how to make goods free of partial hydrogenation.
By Jan. 1, 2011, food preparation sites would have to be eliminate all ingredients with trans fats or face fines from $25 to $1,000. The bill exempts public school cafeterias, which must be trans fat free under a law that takes effect at the start of the coming year.
Mendoza’s bill defines trans fat free as containing 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, and the law would not apply to packaged goods, which cross state lines and are subject to FDA regulation.
The bill also allows local governments to create trans fat ordinances, such as San Francisco’s voluntary plan under which restaurants that pass a $250 inspection will be awarded a decal indicating that they are trans fat free. The city’s law takes effect this month.
Related: SacBee columnist Dan Walters: “‘Nanny bill’ authors have no time for science, consequences”
I’m feeling like KFC today.