The Network recently responded to a request from a public health practitioner regarding the enforcement of a ban on trans fats in her community. This type of fat, which is frequently added artificially in such items as partially hydrogenated cooking oils, has been increasingly scrutinized in recent years for its potentially harmful effects on cholesterol. Numerous localities have passed bans on its use in restaurants. The practitioner was specifically curious about the operational logistics of her health department applying the ban and potential methods it could use to enforce it.
The Network discussed the issue with the practitioner and provided a number of references about the processes other localities have taken in instituting bans on trans fat. These sources included official procedures and guides for implementing and enforcing bans from the Baltimore City Health Department, the Boston Public Health Commission and Seattle-King County. Other references were a guide for restaurants that Philadelphia and New York City developed and a report from the Cambridge, Massachusetts trans fat task force that addressed issues with and recommendations for implementation of such a ban. The Network also referred the practitioner to the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), a team of attorneys and policy specialists providing legal technical assistance on obesity prevention efforts.
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