Foodservice Equipment Reports

Trans Fats Ban Tabled In Illinois, Likely To Fail In Ohio

No state is racing to join California in banning trans fats. Just a few weeks after the Illinois State Senate voted down a proposed ban, its counterpart in Ohio has added an amendment to the proposed state budget that would ban local municipalities from regulating the ingredients restaurants can use to prepare foods.

The amendment, added at the request of the Ohio Restaurant Association, overrides a Cleveland law passed in April as part of the "Healthy Cleveland" initiative. That law would ban restaurants from using cooking oils containing trans fats, beginning in 2013.

The Ohio Restaurant Association wrote to the Cleveland City Council on April 7 to oppose the law. The group said the Cleveland ordinance creates a burden for operators who have already voluntarily stopped using oils containing trans fats, yet would be required to keep extra documentation for ingredients used. "We see a clear national trend among some activists and governments to pass ordinances to try to tell restaurants what food they can serve, how they describe their menu items to customers, and in some cases how they market their businesses," Richard Mason, director-governmental affairs for the association, told The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Trans fats, found in high amounts in artificial substances like partially hydrogenated oils, are currently banned in New York City, Montgomery County, Md., and a few other local governments around the country. California’s ban went into effect in January 2010.