Foodservice Equipment Reports

It’s Cleveland v. Ohio Over Trans Fat Ban

That sticky wicket of regulating what people put in their mouths is rearing its head again in Cleveland. The city is suing the state of Ohio for the right to ban the sale of prepared foods that contain artery-clogging trans fat.

The city’s suit seeks to invalidate the state law blocking the ban. Cleveland Mayor Frank Johnson filed a complaint last week against Ohio in response to a recent state law that bans municipalities from regulating the ingredients restaurants use to prepare foods. Mayor Jackson said that the law unconstitutionally takes away the city’s home-rule rights.

The battle over trans fat began last April when, as part of its Healthy Cleveland initiative, the Cleveland City Council passed a law to ban restaurants from using cooking oils containing trans fat. The ordinance banned industrially produced trans fat in restaurant meals and grocery and bakery takeout items.

State lawmakers, supported by the Ohio Restaurant Association, cited the need for statewide regulatory consistency and overruled the ban in an amendment to the state budget last June.

In 2006, the federal government began requiring packaged foods to list trans fats on nutrition labels. U.S. Dietary Guidelines call for keeping levels as low as possible.

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