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New York City Board of Health bans trans-fats

Posted by Chance on December 6, 2006

Story here.

Dec. 5, 2006 — Following the New York City Board of Health’s unanimous decision to phase trans fats off the city’s restaurant menus, experts say the move could be an important step in saving many people from heart disease.

Restaurateurs and others, however, say the decision could have a devastating impact on New York’s restaurant industry, and it might not even make restaurant food that much healthier.

I don’t think I need to add much to the story to point out how ridiculous it is.

I would like to note this in the story.

“Some opponents of this ban have characterized this as ‘big brother in the kitchen,'” says Meir Stampfer, professor and chairman of the Harvard School of Health’s department of epidemiology.

“To those I would ask, ‘Do you oppose the regulations requiring employees to wash their hands? Do you oppose regulations limiting pesticide residue in food?'”

Big difference. Restaurant customers expect the workers to wash their hands, and they expect their food to not have poison. Also, customers know what they are getting into when they eat fatty foods. Unsanitary or poisoned food is a surprise, fatty foods typically are not. I’m sure someone from Harvard is smart enough to realize this if they thought about it long enough, but some people choose not to put on their critical-thinking hat when it comes to moves by big government.

The sad thing is, the only time the story mentions the idea that this move may not be the role of the NYC city council is in the quote above, from someone who brings it up, then quickly dismisses it. This is like a news article reporting on Planned Parenthood, and having the pro-life position summed up by a pro-choicer. So much for getting both sides of the story.

And speaking of “pro-choice”, whatever happened to the opinion of “my body, my choice”. Apparently not when it comes to choosing what kind of food we eat.

Update: Looks like it is the New York City Board of Health, not the City Council, as I stated originally.

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New York City Board of Health bans trans-fats

Posted by Chance on December 6, 2006

Story here.

Dec. 5, 2006 — Following the New York City Board of Health’s unanimous decision to phase trans fats off the city’s restaurant menus, experts say the move could be an important step in saving many people from heart disease.

Restaurateurs and others, however, say the decision could have a devastating impact on New York’s restaurant industry, and it might not even make restaurant food that much healthier.

I don’t think I need to add much to the story to point out how ridiculous it is.

I would like to note this in the story.

“Some opponents of this ban have characterized this as ‘big brother in the kitchen,'” says Meir Stampfer, professor and chairman of the Harvard School of Health’s department of epidemiology.

“To those I would ask, ‘Do you oppose the regulations requiring employees to wash their hands? Do you oppose regulations limiting pesticide residue in food?'”

Big difference. Restaurant customers expect the workers to wash their hands, and they expect their food to not have poison. Also, customers know what they are getting into when they eat fatty foods. Unsanitary or poisoned food is a surprise, fatty foods typically are not. I’m sure someone from Harvard is smart enough to realize this if they thought about it long enough, but some people choose not to put on their critical-thinking hat when it comes to moves by big government.

The sad thing is, the only time the story mentions the idea that this move may not be the role of the NYC city council is in the quote above, from someone who brings it up, then quickly dismisses it. This is like a news article reporting on Planned Parenthood, and having the pro-life position summed up by a pro-choicer. So much for getting both sides of the story.

And speaking of “pro-choice”, whatever happened to the opinion of “my body, my choice”. Apparently not when it comes to choosing what kind of food we eat.

Update: Looks like it is the New York City Board of Health, not the City Council, as I stated originally.

8 Responses to “New York City Board of Health bans trans-fats”

  1. Anonymous said

    you’re missing a concept- the issue of OPTIMAL DEFAULT, developed by Harvard economists (who had no ties with the anti-trans-fat campaign). The government isn’t preventing you from adding high-trans shortening into your foods if you want to add it as a condiment- but setting a public health default so that people arent unnecessarily exposed to such a hazardous toxin. Other examples of optimal defaults: “You can turn off your airbag manually, but cars come with them automatically on for general safety”.

    Moreoever, trans fat is an artificial POISON. besides rare microorganisms– no plant, fungus, or animal on earth can create trans fats!!! Thus it does NOT naturally belong in foods at all.

    Also, to also convey to you how bad trans fat is– eating trans fat laced foods is like drinking arsenic or benzene laced water, or inhaling asbestos from building materials. Arsenic, benzene, and asbestos are currently all banned by the government in such consumer products– NOT out of any big brother syndrome, but out of PUBLIC HEALTH.

  2. Velvet Cowboy said

    Why not just put an ingredient list on the menus and give the customer choices… It would be like saying, “Hey, if you don’t mind trans-fats, here they are. If you’d like a healthier alternative, you’d better pick this.”

  3. Chance said

    Making menu information mandatory I have less problem with, even though I may leave it to the users discretion to avoid restaurants that do not, in fact, have such info. But, information is more reasonable that prohibition. I have no problem with restaurants having all fatty foods though, because I know there are plenty of healthy restaurants.

  4. Chance said

    anonymous,

    for one, trans-fats are far less of a toxin than asbestos and benzene. I said it before in my post, trans-fats are much less toxic, and people know to some degree that they are ingesting it. This whole trans-fats=unsanitary=poisonous foods is a weak argument at best and a disingenuous argument at worst.

    And again, people have a choice.

  5. Lee said

    Apparently, this type of thinking is contagious. Louisville is thinking about a similar ban.d

  6. Chance said

    Yip. Power and the desire to control other people’s lives is definitely contagious.

  7. Velcro said

    Chance, would you mind emailing me your address… I have a Anthrax laced Christmas card for you.

    Ha… Maybe mentioning the word “Anthrax” will give gov’t attention to your blog?

  8. Chance said

    hehe, no doubt.

    Actually, i’m quite fond of those white powdery donuts, but I’d prefer not to receive those in the mail.

    My address should be in your inbox sometime soon.

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