TRENTON – Senator Ellen Karcher announced today that she will be introducing legislation to ban trans fats from New Jersey restaurants in order to fight the statewide trend in increasing childhood obesity, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
“We’re following New York City’s lead in banning trans fats, in order to combat heart disease and obesity and realize a healthier New Jersey,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “Study upon study has shown the health risks from consuming trans fats, including heightened cholesterol and increased risk of cardiac arrest. This is an epidemic, and unless we take action, it will only get worse.”
Senator Karcher noted that her proposed ban is modeled after the proposal to eliminate trans fats by 2008 from New York City restaurants and food carts. The ban would replace partially hydrogenated oil, commonly used in cooking and commercial food production, with heart-healthy alternatives, such as mono- and poly-unsaturated vegetable oils. Senator Karcher added that an April study from the Harvard School of Public Health reported that tens of thousands of cardiac deaths could be prevented each year if trans fats were removed from American diets.
“On average, we get a third of our caloric intake and spend almost half of our food dollars eating out in restaurants,” said Senator Karcher. “While some establishments, like Wendy’s, have already opted for heart-healthy substitutes for trans fats, other restaurants have fed into the national obesity epidemic. We need to do something about this, because the mortality rate increases between 20 to 40 percent among overweight people.
“I know that I’ll get some pushback from this proposal, but I think people have to realize that we’re not proposing a ban on foods, but rather on unhealthy food preparation,” said Senator Karcher. “McDonalds’ restaurants in Europe offer french fries which are much healthier than their American counterpart, because they use heart-healthy alternatives which are free from trans fats. In the long run, heart-healthy alternatives will save money and save lives.”
Senator Karcher said that the bill will be introduced shortly.