Serrano Battles Trans Fat

José M. Serrano

July 26, 2007

New York, NY – State Senator José M. Serrano yesterday hosted a Trans Fat 101 Workshop in conjunction with the Trans Fat Help Center and the city’s Health Department.

The Spanish-language workshop, held at the Ortiz-Wittenberg Community Center in East Harlem, drew more than 50 individuals working in the local food service industry.

"This is an exciting time for New York City. We are improving the way we protect public health, through educational campaigns and smart governance," said the Senator.

An amendment to New York City’s Health Code phases out the use of artificial trans fat in food service establishments. The first phase of the regulation applies to fry oil, shortening and margarine used as a spread and went into effect on July 1, 2007. The second phase of the regulation applies to baked and other pre-prepared items and goes into effect in July 2008.

Artificial trans fat increases levels of bad cholesterol and decreases levels of good cholesterol in the body. It contributes heavily to the epidemic of heart disease in the United States, which killed 23,000 New Yorkers in 2003.

"In communities like East Harlem and the South Bronx, which already find themselves on the wrong side of healthcare disparities, we must do all we can to raise awareness and increase access to healthy foods," said the Senator.

The workshop, which was led by the Trans Fat Help Center and included a shorter presentation from the Department’s Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation, made use of visual aids and packets of materials to instruct attendees on how the regulation works and how to comply.

The Trans Fat Help Center, which is housed in the New York City College of Technology's Hospitality Program, was created by the Health Department to provide technical support to the city’s food service establishments in removing artificial trans fat from their food.