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California bans trans fat in restaurants


The governor signed the law banning trans fats in restaurants today. "The law, AB 97 by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), will ban cooking with artificial trans fats in restaurants by Jan. 1, 2010, and bar their presence in baked goods by Jan. 1, 2011."

I think it's good news. What are your thoughts?

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  1. As long as it's only artificial/manufactured transfats. Transfats occur naturally in butter, without butter, why live?

    10 Replies
    1. re: babette feasts

      My thoughts exactly
      Will we be allowed to consume butter with our toasts , biscuits and pancakes?

      1. re: babette feasts


        Would love to see them do that here in Ontario or all of Canada for that matter.



        1. re: babette feasts

          Yes. Only artificial transfats. I completely agree about butter being essential.

          1. re: alliebear

            I don't think anyone has ever proposed banning butter. I imagine people might not go for that.

            1. re: Chowpatty

              I recall when NYC banned them, there was concern from bakers about not being able to use butter & having to use a substitute in things like croissants. I guess they worked it out?


              1. re: babette feasts

                butter is not a trans fat; it is a saturated fat. trans fats are unsaturated fats, like vegetable oil, that have been hydrogenated to give them a solidified consistency and stable shelf life - think margarine or shortening. bakers will still be able to use the old basics like butter and lard, which are saturated, but, natural, animal fats.

                1. re: trishyb

                  Butter has small amounts of naturally occuring trans fats, hence the initial overreaction when the NY ban went into place.

                  See link, above.

                  1. re: babette feasts

                    in ca, the law specifically references synthetic trans fats. the amounts in butter and other animal fats are very small. if you look at the nutrition label on a pound of butter, for example, it will say 0 trans fat, because it falls under the required minimum amount for reporting. everyone here (in ca) is worried about the artificial trans fats that have been linked to heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc.

                    1. re: babette feasts

                      Humans evolved eating the naturally-occurring trans fats in butter and beef, and studies to date don't suggest that they have the same health consequences as artificial trans fats, most of which do not exist in nature.


                      It's bad that the FDA lumps them together on labels, and that when a "serving" contains 0.49 grams of artificial trans fat it can be rounded off to zero. Hence misleading claims such as, "McDonald's is NOW serving 0 grams Trans Fat (per labeled serving)."

          2. Artificial transfats.... hmmm.

            How's this effect bakeries that make pies?
            What would you use instead of shortening? Lard? Tallow? Butter?

            What about processed foods stuff shipped into CA?

            It just seems to hurt local, small businesses who have to redevelop their formulas, but big businesses have the money and resources to modify their formulas.

            Will this even benefit the general population where their diets and exercise habits are non-existent? It just seems like a feel-good measure that doesn't address the true causes of obesity, heart disease and diabetes (Type II).

            1 Reply
            1. re: dave_c

              "Will this even benefit the general population where their diets and exercise habits are non-existent? It just seems like a feel-good measure that doesn't address the true causes of obesity, heart disease and diabetes (Type II)."

              I'm not sure I agree with the statement that this is just a feel-good measure. There is some pretty strong evidence against transfats. This new law is also a chance to educate the general population about transfat and other health issues.

              I certainly agree that there are many other issues about diet and exercise that need to be addressed. But to say that a transfat ban is an ineffective measure seems a bit extreme.

              I also agree that this law will be a PITA for many smaller businesses, and I am sympathetic.

            2. I read somewhere that "death can be caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over an extendedperiod of time."..George Carlin I believe

              1. i see many people here didn't agree with this decision. this is a ubiquitous and unhealthy artificial fat, and it is NOT something that people can choose not to eat in a restaurant. restaurants don't' carry nutritonal labels, processed food does. if the data on HCFS were stronger, they should ban that too.

                1. Natural substitutes for artificial trans fats in pastry include lard, coconut oil, and palm oil. You can also make pastry with butter or oil, but the texture's different. Artificial substitutes such as the reformulated Crisco are a mix of fully hydrogenated vegetable oil (a waxy substance) and vegetable oil.

                  Switching is not a significant problem or expense for small businesses. Anyplace using Crisco has already switched. Costco's regular deep-fryer mix is $29.86 for 35 pounds; the trans-fat-free version is $30.30.

                  Sure, to avoid obesity etc. people should eat less pie, but artificial trans fats are much worse for you than lard or butter. This topic has some more about that:


                  Before vegetable shortening, pie crust was usually made with lard. Hydrogenation's first commercial application, by William Proctor and James Gamble in 1907, was to turn cottonseed oil into a substitute for lard and tallow (which at the time were monopolized by meat packers) in the manufacture of soap and candles.

                  A few years later it occurred to P&G to market it as a substitute for lard in the kitchen as well, and Crisco was born. After the health issues were discovered in the 1950s, P&G worked hard to suppress and counter the facts, much like the tobacco industry did for smoking. More historical info:


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    So I'm still a bit confused. If I were to sell an item that used Crisco in it....would I need to advertise this to customers? The label on Crisco lists "0" for trans fats.

                    1. re: Sandro Tuzzo

                      Like I said, Crisco is now legal. I wouldn't eat it myself. We don't know that fully-hydrogenated fat is healthful, we just don't know that it's unhealthy. Either way, it's totally unappetizing.

                      If the label says 0.5 or less grams per serving, it's legal.

                  2. ban everything ,make it all illegal.its obvious people cant make choices for themselves"and the true north strong and free"