Unless you've been hiding out in a cave lately, you've probably heard about the horrific dangers of trans fats – partially hydrogenated vegetable oils found in processed cookies, cakes, crackers, breads, doughnuts, and deep-fried French fries, etc. — which can lead to an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
In fact, Harvard researchers believe just getting rid of trans fats could prevent between 30,000 to 100,000 premature deaths annually, as they reported in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year.
Although in January this year the FDA began requiring all manufacturers label those potentially hazardous fats, eateries nationwide have been continuing to use the potentially deadly fat.
Now, nutrition-minded people who live or work in New York have a golden opportunity for their voices to be heard and to help influence lawmakers so that trans fats will be given the boot from Manhattan restaurants.
On Monday, October 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (at 125 Worth Street, 2nd Floor, near City Hall), the New York City Board of Health's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is holding public hearings to consider a groundbreaking proposal (81.08) to strictly limit this man-made toxic substance from restaurants.
That same day, from noon to 2 p.m., join hundreds of us when we show support for the proposal by attending a public outdoor event rally sponsored by Trans Fat Free NYC at Thomas Paine Park directly across from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The goal is to show politicians there's a tremendous amount of support for this ban-trans-fat proposal.
If New York restaurants stop using trans fats, it will become the second city in the U.S. to do so, following the lead of the much vastly smaller city of Tiburon, in northern California, which now works with restaurant owners and managers in the area's 18 restaurants to avoid trans fats in cooking oil or frying.
The New York City rally sounds like it will be both fun and educational. Speakers include:
- Walter Willett, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health (Dr. Willett’s research has been influential in providing pivotal scientific information about the dangers of trans fats.)
- Joshua Rosenthal, founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Executive Director of the Trans Fat Free NYC campaign
- Anna Lappe, cofounder of Small Planet Institute and the author of Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet.
- Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and author of Restaurant Confidential and Six Arguments for a Greener Diet
- Earl Ellis of Whole Harvest oils
- Other keynote speakers from New York’s political, culinary, and entertainment fields
Trans Fat Free NYC also will present:
- A performance by Trans Freestyle Dancers, including NYC’s b-girl crew Fox Force Five
- Music by the legendary DP One of the Turntable Annihilists crew
- Trans fat free treats (don't know if they're sugar-free) from some of New York City's finest restaurants and Green Market vendors.
- Meanwhile, TransFatFreeNYC.org is urging New Yorkers to send e-mails to regarding Proposal 81.08 directly to Rena Bryant, Secretary of the NYC Board of Health.
For more information, check out Trans Fat Free NYC's website.
If you can't make the rally, then you can quickly fill out a petition to limit trans fats in New York City restaurants. It only takes a minute, and you could be helping to save hundreds of lives.