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Trans Fat, Heart Disease and Food Service : Transforming the Food Environment CASA Beth S. Torin , RD, MA, Associate E PowerPoint Presentation
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Trans Fat, Heart Disease and Food Service : Transforming the Food Environment CASA Beth S. Torin , RD, MA, Associate Executive Director Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN US 2003.

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Trans Fat, Heart Disease and Food Service :

Transforming the

Food Environment


Beth S. Torin , RD, MA,

Associate Executive Director

Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

take care new york 10 steps to live longer healthier lives
TAKE CARE NEW YORK:10 steps to live longer, healthier lives.
  • Have a Regular Doctor or Other Health Care Provider
  • Be Tobacco Free
  • Keep Your Heart Healthy
  • Know Your HIV Status
  • Get Help for Depression
  • Live Free of Dependence on Alcohol and Drugs
  • Get Checked for Cancer
  • Get the Immunizations You Need
  • Make Your Home Safe and Healthy
  • Have a Healthy Baby

Trans Fat in the Diet

Average daily intake 2.6% of total calories

(approx 5.8 grams)

79% Artificial






21% Naturally Occurring


Meat and Dairy Products

Source: FDA Consumer magazine. September-October 2003 Issue. Pub No. FDA04-1329C

trans fat a brief history
Trans Fat : A brief History
  • About 100 years ago the discovery was made that liquid oils could be converted to solid fats (which were more useful in food manufacture) by a procedure called hydrogenation. As hydrogen was added to liquid unsaturated oil it gradually became a solid saturated fat (also called a hydrogenated fat).
early 1900
Early 1900
  • Scientist Wilhelm Normann finds that liquid oils can be hydrogenated to form trans fatty acids.  He patents the process.  Trans fat is the first man-made fat to join our food supply.
trans fat 1911
Trans Fat : 1911
  • Many American kitchens were first introduced to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in 1911 with the product Crisco®.
1940 s
  • After the Second World War the process for making hydrogenated and hardened fats from cheaper sources of vegetable oils was widely adopted. Margarines were developed and marketed as alternatives to butter, and vegetable shortenings increasingly replaced the animal fats in cooking.
  • The American Heart Association first proposes that reducing dietary fats, namely saturated fats found in foods like butter and beef, can reduce the chance of getting heart disease.
1960s and 1970s
1960s and 1970s
  • In the 1960s and '70s, it became common for health-conscious consumers to replace butter with margarine, which at that time was composed of about 25% trans fats.
  • Consumer advocacy groups campaign against using saturated fat for frying in fast-food restaurants.
  • In response, most fast-food companies begin using partially hydrogenated oils containing trans fat instead of beef tallow and tropical oils high in saturated fats.


  • Studies conducted during the 1990s, revealing correlations between trans fatty acids and increased LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and a higher incidence of heart disease. 


  •   Perhaps saturated fats weren’t alone in harming heart health after all.


  • Around this time nutrition labels became a hotly debated topic.  Scientists and food manufacturers argued over whether to require a separate listing of trans fat content on food packages.
  • Following the release of several scientific studies, health advocacy groups call for fast-food restaurants to stop using partially hydrogenated oils in their deep fryers.

The U.S. government proposes a law requiring food manufacturers to list trans fat amounts on nutrition labels.  The proposal is not passed as law.


Denmark is the first and only country to regulate trans fat on a national basis, putting a very small cap on the amount that food may contain.



Later in 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) passes a law requiring that trans fat be listed on the Nutrition Facts label on food products; food manufacturers have three years to comply.  Many have reformulated their products to limit trans fat.



Trans fat labeling becomes mandatory in the United States.  The American Heart Association becomes the first major health organization to specify a daily limit:  less than 1 percent of calories from trans fat. 



Later in the year, New York becomes the first U.S. city to pass a regulation limiting trans fat in restaurants.  Multiple cities and states have since proposed similar regulations.

  • Almost 100 years after is was first introduced to the market, Crisco has been reformulated and is trans fat free
what is artificial trans fat

Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (“PHVO”)


What Is Artificial Trans Fat?




Partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fat




trans fat is more dangerous than saturated fat
Trans Fat Is More Dangerousthan Saturated Fat

Good (HDL) Bad (LDL)

Cholesterol Cholesterol

Trans fat

Saturated fat

trans fat intake increases coronary heart disease risk
Trans Fat Intake IncreasesCoronary Heart Disease Risk

There is “a positive linear trend between trans fatty acid intake and total and LDL-C concentration, and therefore increased risk of coronary heart disease…”

– Institute of Medicine

major food sources of artificial trans fat for u s adults
Major Food Sources of Artificial Trans Fat for U.S. Adults

Data Source:

january 2006

Finding Trans fat


Liquid Corn Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Vegetable Mono And Diglycerides And Soy Lecithin (Emulsifiers), Sodium Benzoate (To Preserve Freshness), Vitamin A Palmitate, Colored With Beta Carotene (Source Of Vitamin A), Artificial Flavor, Vitamin D3

restaurant sources


  • Commercial Fry Oils
  • Vegetable shortening and margarine


  • cakes, crackers, pastries, cookies, pies and hamburger buns


  • French fries, chicken nuggets, fish fillets, tortilla chips, donuts, pancake or cake mix
changing the food environment a market based trans fat strategy
Changing the Food Environment:A Market-Based Trans Fat Strategy

Trans Fat Education Campaign




new york city s trans fat education campaign
New York City’s Trans Fat Education Campaign

Strongly Recommended

Consumers:Keep intake ‘as low as possible’, and ask about oils and trans fats used to prepare their food in restaurants

Food Suppliers:Carry and promote trans fat free products and phase out trans fat containing products

Restaurants: Eliminate artificial trans fat from the foods they serve

trans fat use did not decline despite voluntary campaign
Trans Fat Use Did Not Decline Despite Voluntary Campaign

Health Bulletin to 200,000 people

9,000 FSEs received additional info

Info & tools to food suppliers and to >20,000 NYC restaurants

% Restaurants Using Trans Fat

in Oils and Spread

Where Use Could Be Determined

7,800 restaurant operators trained

assuring safe food
Assuring Safe Food
  • Dangerous: Like lead in paint, it’s dangerous, unnecessary and won’t be missed
  • Unavoidable in Restaurants: No way to know the trans fat content of food
  • Replaceable: Artificial trans fat can be replaced
  • Policy is Feasible: Phasing out is a feasible environmental policy to reduce heart disease in New York City
  • Health Code Amendment: within DOH authority
sept 26 2006 nyc board of health proposal to partially phase out artificial trans fat
Sept 26, 2006 NYC Board of Health:Proposal to Partially Phase-Out Artificial Trans Fat
  • 6 months to switch to cooking oils, shortening, and margarines with less than 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving
  • 18 months for all other foods
  • Food served in manufacturers’ original packaging will be exempt
  • Applies to all NYC food service establishments and mobile vending commissaries

Sept. 26, 2006:

Proposal Published in City Record


July 1, 2007:oils, shortening, and margarine used for frying or as a spread must have with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.

  • Oils and shortening used to fry yeast dough and cake batter must comply with the second deadline.
grace periods
Grace Periods
  • No fines were assessed for trans fat violations issued between July 1 and September 30 , 2007.
Success !
  • In April we completed 1345restaurant inspections and 28 FSE’s trans fat violations
  • 99.9 % compliance with regulation
phase 2

July 1, 2008:all foods must have less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.

  • Food served in manufacturers’ original, sealed packaging will be exempt
grace period
Grace Period
  • No fines will be assessed for trans fat violation issued between July 1 and October 1, 2008 with regard to all foods covered by second deadline, not first deadline.
phase 2 challenges
PHASE 2 – challenges
  • Bakery’s are having trouble reformulating products for compliance
  • Price of flour has increased concern about increased price of oils and impact on pricing
trans fat free baking shortenings are not available
"Trans fat-free baking shortenings are not available."

Not true

  • At the present time, many bakers use trans fat-free palm oil as shortening. Palm oil contains no trans fat and works very well, but is not a healthy alternative as it is high in saturated fat. While it would be perfectly legal to use trans fat-free palm oil under New York’s and Philadelphia 's regulations, a lower saturated fat alternative should be used if possible for health reasons. There are many trans fat-free lower saturated fat alternatives on the market such as palm and canola blends and Crisco
trans fat free oils make food taste bad
“Trans fat-free oils make food taste bad."

Not true.

  • A real oil tastes at least as good as an artificial oil and usually better. Let anyone who says that trans fat-free oils taste worse than artificial partially hydrogenated oils show us the results of even one consumer sensory panel.
  • You don't use partially hydrogenated oil for your home cooking. Think about it. Do you need to use partially hydrogenated oil for your home cooked food to taste good?
this will add to restaurant owners costs
“This will add to restaurant owners' costs."

Not true

  • Switching to trans fat-free frying oil does not increase costs. The trans fat-free frying oils available today have fry lives just as long as partially hydrogenated oils. As every restaurant owner knows, it is fry life that determines cost.
  • A $26 case oil of trans fat-free oil that has 1.1 times the fry life of a $23 case of partially hydrogenated oil has the same cost. That single $26 case of oil will cook thousands of servings of food.
we should use education not compulsion
We should use education, not compulsion."

"New York City tried that approach and it failed “

  • The Health Department conducted a year-long education campaign to help restaurants voluntarily reduce trans fat. Information was provided to every restaurant in New York City and training was provided to help restaurants and food suppliers make the change. Restaurants were surveyed before and after the campaign. While some restaurants reduced or stopped using artificial trans fat, overall use did not decline at all. In restaurants where it could be determined whether trans fat was used, half used it in oils or spreads both before and after the year-long campaign. A year after this voluntary effort, New Yorkers are still being exposed to high levels of dangerous trans fat.
there is no popular support for the proposal
There is no popular support for the proposal.
  • "Would you support a ban on use of trans fats in restaurants in your city?"
  • 61% were in favor of a ban
  • 39% were against the ban
  • Wall Street Journal Poll – 12/06
On August 27, 2007, Dunkin' Donuts announced that all menu offerings in its restaurants will have zero grams of artery clogging trans fat by October 15, 2007.
  • Dunkin' Donut is not claiming it will become "trans fat free," but does say any trans fat in foods including doughnuts, croissants, muffins and cookies will fall below half a gram per serving. Federal regulations allow food labels to say they've got zero grams of trans fat, provided levels fall below 0.5 grams per serving.
  • About 400 locations nationwide that took part in a four-month test already have made the switch to a new blend of palm, soybean and cottonseed oils. That includes all restaurants in New York City and Philadelphia, where municipal leaders are forcing restaurants to phase out their use of artery-clogging trans fat.
In July 2007, Burger King announced that two trans-fat-free oil blends had passed the company's criteria, allowing the company to begin the national launch. The company expects that every U.S. restaurant will be using trans-fat-free cooking oil by the end of 2008. If adequate supplies become available, the U.S. rollout of trans-fat-free oils could be completed "substantially sooner," the chain said.
  • "We are delighted by the outstanding consumer response to our new oil," Russ Klein, Burger King's president of global marketing, strategy and innovation, said in a statement. He said that in tests on over a dozen core items, consumers said food cooked in trans-fat-free oil tasted the same or better than products cooked in partially hydrogenated oil.
Arby's has eliminated partially hydrogenated oils in french fries from supplier to restaurant and has completed the roll out of zero grams trans fat cooking oil in all of its restaurants nationwide. Arby's now uses non-hydrogenated corn oil instead of partially hydrogenated corn oil.Arby's curly fries (small and medium servings) now contain zero grams of trans fat. In addition, over seventy percent of Arby's required menu items contain 0.5 grams or less of trans fatty acids (TFA).

Project TiburonAmerica's First Trans Fat-Free City!!!

Tiburon California

This was a voluntary effort by the city’s 18 food service establishments to eliminate trans fat from their menus

westchester county did it
Westchester County did it

Another trans fat-free zone has been formed in Westchester County where 125 restaurants have agreed not to use partially hydrogenated oil.

trans fat is banned in
Trans fat is banned in
  • February 15, 2007, Philadelphia banned trans fat
  • Albany County , NY
  • Brookline , Mass
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Puerto Rico
  • Seattle , Washington
the ban is spreading

Los Angeles


Boca Raton Florida

Miami Dade, Florida

Tamarac, Florida



Louisville, Kentucky

Baltimore, Maryland


Brookline Mass

Cleveland, Ohio


Rhode Island



Cambridge, Mass



New Hampshire


Nassau County , New York

New Jersey

The ban is spreading

Good Health

Good Taste No Artificial Trans Fat

Your Heart Will

Thank You