The New York City Board of Health has unanimously agreed to push forward with a plan to severely limit the amount of artificial trans fats used by restaurants.
The board agreed to begin a period for the acceptance of written public comments and scheduled a public hearing for Oct. 30 ahead of a vote in December to decide the fate of the chemically modified ingredients, which doctors and nutritionists have warned increase heart disease risks, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The proposal, which would ban all but the smallest amounts of trans fat in the city's 20,000 restaurants, would be the first of its kind to be adopted by a major U.S. city. A similar proposal is being considered in Chicago for restaurants that bring in less than $20 million in annual sales.
Some officials have compared the trans fat proposal to measures that banned lead paint in the city in 1960.
"Like lead paint, artificial trans fat in food is invisible and dangerous, and it can be replaced," said New York Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden. "No one will miss it when it is gone."
Copyright 2006 by United Press International