Louisville health board endorsing trans fats ban

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Louisville Metro Board of Health is
backing a plan to ban trans fats in the city's schools, restaurants
and bakeries within 18 months.
The proposed ban would prohibit the use of trans fats "in
prepared foods and prepared baked goods served in permitted
food-service establishments." It also calls for a public-education
The Courier-Journal of Louisville reports that the board
recommends phasing in the ban over 12 months for prepared foods and
18 months for baked goods.
Dr. Adewale Troutman, director of the Louisville Metro Public
Health & Wellness Department, now must decide whether to recommend
the ban the Metro Council, which requested the study.
Even if Troutman does recommend a ban, many Metro Council
members have expressed doubts about enacting it, given that it will
likely raise costs for local businesses that already are facing a
tough economic climate.
The plan was detailed in a task-force study that says metro
Louisville would see 417 fewer heart attacks a year and save about
$22 million annually in healthcare costs if it banned the use of
the trans fats, which have been linked to heart disease.
How far the ban would go remains up in the air, though. Multiple
members of the Metro Council have opposed such a ban. And Mayor
Jerry Abramson has said he opposes a ban at this time because he
thinks more education on the harm of trans fats must be done so
residents understand the ramifications.
Trans fats are created during food processing when liquid oils
are converted into solid fats in a process called hydrogenation.
They tend to keep food fresh longer while on grocery shelves.
But, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says
they also increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol,
putting consumers at risk for heart disease.
The task force's survey of more than 400 Louisville restaurants
found that 160 said they serve food with trans fats, while 214 said
they didn't and 63 responded "maybe." It also found that 124
restaurant operators said they would support a trans fat ban, 179
would not and 134 said they might.
Stacy Roof, president and chief executive officer of the
Kentucky Restaurant Association, said Louisville's proposed ban is
"silly." Roof said "most" restaurants are already phasing out
trans fats and are having trouble finding "affordable
"We will actively oppose it," Roof said.
Metro Council president Tom Owen said said the city needs to
move "carefully and deliberately" before deciding on a ban.
Information from: The Courier-Journal,

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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