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New York City Health Officials Ban Trans Fats From Restaurants


New York City health officials have voted to ban restaurants from using trans fats in foods, a type of vegetable oil that can clog arteries and cause other health problems.

The law will require that fast-food restaurants eliminate trans fats by July 2007. Bakeries have until July 2008 to phase out trans fats.

Some restaurant industry representatives call the ban burdersome and unnecessary.

But the American Heart Association, which promotes cardiovascular health, says evidence suggests trans fat raises "bad" cholesterol and lowers "good" cholesterol levels, leading to the artery blockages and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Trans fats are often found in processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as cookies, snack foods, fried foods, and baked goods.

Trans fat is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil, a process that helps keep foods fresh longer.

McDonald's pledged in 2002 to cut trans fat, but has not done so.

Earlier this year, the Wendy's fast food restaurant said it was switching to a healthier cooking oil.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.