May 2nd, 2011

Trans fat ban mulled in Illinois


Darryl Townson’s doughnuts may get rave reviews, but politicians and health advocates would like to change his recipe.

In a bid to improve the health of Illinois residents, some lawmakers in Springfield are pushing a bill that would ban artificial trans fat from restaurants, bakeries, movie theater popcorn and snacks sold in school vending machines. That would force Townson, a Chicago doughnut shop owner, and other food purveyors to switch to healthier oils.

Scientific evidence against trans fat has been piling up for decades. One nutrition expert says the research puts artery-clogging trans fat in the same category as tobacco. Others have tied the ingredient to 30,000 U.S. heart disease deaths a year.

Illinois would be the second state after California to pass a trans fat ban, but opponents say the food industry already is eliminating trans fat on its own and that the government has no business getting involved. Proponents counter that until the very last establishment does away with the ingredient, the health risk demands legislation.

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