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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 080-07
Monday, September 17, 2007

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA: (212) 788-5290
Sara Markt (smarkt@health.nyc.gov)
Celina De Leon (cdeleon@health.nyc.gov)


94% OF INSPECTED RESTAURANTS IN COMPLIANCE WITH FIRST PHASE OF TRANS FAT REGULATION

Margarine is the Main Problem for the Few Violations Issued

Grace Period Ends October 1



NEW YORK CITY – September 17, 2007 – Nearly all New York City restaurants are now complying with the first phase of the city’s new trans fat regulation, the Health Department reported today. Those restaurants still using spreads or fry oils that contain artificial trans fat have just two weeks left to switch products to be in compliance with the regulation. The Health Department will begin issuing fines on October 1.

Some 94% of the more than 3,300 restaurants inspected between July 1 and September 1 had switched to spreads and oils containing zero grams of artificial trans fat. The rate was 50% before the regulation was passed and reached 80% in June, when restaurants had begun to gear up for implementation. Nearly all of the violations noted thus far have been for margarine use, which is easy to replace with more healthful alternatives. After the three-month grace period ends on October 1st, restaurants will be subject to fines that start at $200.

“Despite claims to the contrary, New York City restaurants have shown that it’s easy to get artificial trans fat out of spreads and fry oils,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Health Commissioner for New York City. “New Yorkers are now enjoying more healthful foods without any change in taste or price. We encourage the few restaurants still using artificial trans fat for frying or spreading to adopt a healthier alternative before October 1. Any restaurant that wants help or clarification on how to make the switch can call 311 and ask for the Trans Fat Help Center.”

This first phase of the regulation applies to oils, shortening and margarines used for frying and as spreads. It does not apply to baked goods or prepared foods, or to oils used to deep-fry dough or cake batter. Those products are covered by the second phase of the initiative, which takes effect on July 1, 2008.

The Health Department, with a grant from the American Heart Association, launched a Trans Fat Help Center in April to help restaurants switch from artificial trans fat to more healthful oils. The Help Center offers the following resources at no cost to restaurants:

  • Help Line. Restaurants can call 311 to reach the Trans Fat Help Line for information on the regulation and for advice from culinary experts. Assistance is also available in Chinese, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages through interpreters.
  • Website. www.notransfatnyc.org features easy-to-use resources that are available to restaurants 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Restaurant operators may download “0 Grams Trans Fat” product lists and a guide to frying without trans fat. They can also get information about classes, or download a brochure on the new regulations.
  • Classes for Restaurant Operators. Restaurant operators can sign up for classes on cooking and baking without artificial trans fat. Classes will be offered monthly through December 2008 in English and Spanish and in a variety of locations. For information on how to sign up, visit www.notransfatnyc.org.

A complete guide to complying with NYC’s new trans fat regulation is available at: http://home2.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/cardio/cardio-transfat-bro.pdf

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