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    NYC Board of Health Emphatically Says No to Trans Fats

    Unanimous vote gives city a year and a half to remove trans fats from foods.

    NEW YORK -- French fries and burgers in the Big Apple may never be the same, as the New York board of health unanimously approved the nation's first ban on trans fats, The Associated Press reported.

    The proposal, which was decided yesterday, was slightly different than the one originally developed. After weeks of opposition from restaurateurs regarding the proposed timeline to phase out the hydrogenated oils that account for trans fats, the ban was slightly lengthened, giving the city's restaurants until July 1 to switch to frying oil that does not contain artificial trans fats.

    After that, food establishments will have until July 1, 2008 to completely eliminate trans fats from foods. The original plan gave establishments six months to replace cooking oils and shortening, and 18 months to replace trans fats entirely, the report stated.

    Health commissioner Thomas Frieden told the AP before the vote that it was likely the timetable would be extended.

    The ban does note some exceptions, however. Food that comes in the manufacturer's original packaging would be allowed in the city. Many food companies already made the switch to no trans fats when the Food and Drug Administration required companies to list the fats on labels, the report stated.

    "Nobody wants to take away your french fries and hamburgers -- I love those things too," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said recently on the proposed ban. "But if you can make them with something that is less damaging to your health, we should do that."

    With the ban, foodservice operations will undergo more than just a simple switch of cooking oil, as recipes will change, supply chains will be disrupted, and consumers will need convincing that the new foods are just as tasty as the originals, the report stated.

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