California Terminates Artificial Trans Fat!

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

July 25, 2008

That great big sucking sound you hear is the sound of partially hydrogenated oil leaving the American food supply.

With the stroke of a pen this afternoon, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will make California the first state in the nation to make its restaurant foods free of artificial trans fat. Itís a bold move that will prevent thousands of heart attack deaths in that state and save millions of health care dollars. Burger King, the biggest chain with no firm plans to switch, should finally see the handwriting on the wall and change its frying oil nationwide.

I hope more states, more cities, and more counties similarly pass measures to protect the public health by prohibiting the use of artificial trans fat in food. New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and other local governments have passed trans fat bans in the past two years.

Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proven to be impervious to embarrassment, perhaps Californiaís move today will at long last shame the agency into getting rid of artificial trans fat nationwide. It has the authority to do, but has been stalling on taking action on a regulatory petition we filed with the agency four years ago.

Assemblyman Tony Mendoza and Senator Elaine Alquist deserve a great deal of credit for patiently steering this bill through the legislature and for pointing their state and the country to a trans-fat-free future.


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