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Trans fat ban at restaurants begins January 1

(SACRAMENTO) California will begin to phase out the use of trans fats in restaurants and other food facilities beginning January 1.

“The County Department of Environmental Health regularly inspects these facilities, and we will work with food providers in the county to educate them about the new requirements to make them aware of the new rules,” said Department of Environmental Health Director, Gary Erbeck.

Beginning New Year’s Day, restaurants cannot use oils, margarines or shortenings that contain trans fats, except when used for the deep frying of yeast dough or cake batter for items such as doughnuts. Beginning January 1, 2011, the ban will be extended to include all foods.

In addition to restaurants, the new law applies to private schools, grocery stores, bakeries and other retail food facilities. It does not apply to public school cafeterias because they are already prohibited from serving any food containing trans fat by the California Department of Education.

Eating foods with trans fats has been found to increase the risk of heart disease by decreasing good (HDL) cholesterol and increasing bad (LDL) cholesterol.

County Environmental Health is responsible for inspecting more than 12,000 retail food facilities in the region to make sure businesses and their employees are following proper food preparation and food safety standards, as well as ensuring that businesses are also following all state and local regulations.