Illinois restaurants may soon have to find a way to cut artificial trans-fats from pies, cakes, French fries, onion rings, popcorn shrimp and fried chicken.
Legislation that passed the Illinois House on Apr. 20 would ban artery-clogging trans-fats in food served in restaurants, movie theaters, cafes and bakeries or sold in school vending machines, starting 2013. School cafeterias would be affected in 2016. Most prepackaged food would not be covered.
If the Senate approves the bill and Gov. Pat Quinn signs it, Illinois will be the second state to enact such a ban. The first was California. “Health problems cost our states so much money, and if we can use prevention to keep people out of emergency rooms and keep them healthy, this is a step in that direction,” says sponsoring Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago).
The National Academy of Sciences says that trans-fats cannot be safely consumed in any amount. More than a dozen jurisdictions implemented trans-fat bans, including New York City. Some 50 restaurant chains also have taken the fats off their menus nationally, and even global corporations such as Disney have done the same, reports the British Medical Journal. Preliminary studies of New York City's ban suggest that the removal of trans-fats has led to foods having healthier fatty acid profiles, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.