Trans Fat Gets More Attention

Massachusetts lawmakers propose state-wide ban on the fat in restaurant cooking, while FDA plans consumer survey on the topic.

This week, a Democratic representative in the Massachusetts Legistlature - Peter Koutoujian - proposed a bill to ban the use of trans fat in restaurants operated in the state. The bill, which uses language similar to a measure passed by New York City recently, would be the first statewide ban on the oil.

Under the proposed measure, restaurant operators would have to switch to oils, margarines and shortenings with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat for each serving. That's the magic number the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has picked that requires food companies to list trans fat on the label.

Meanwhile, FDA has announced plans to conduct a public survey of consumers to determine the best method of describing trans fats on food packages, according to the Web site The agency says it would use information from the study to evaluate regulatory and policy options.

Trans fat has been required on food labels since January, but there are some inconsistencies in the food label. The agency will explore ways to add information consumers can better use when evaluating fat content in foods.

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