Food Fight Expected if NYC Bans Trans Fats
Posted on October 2, 2006
MSNBC.com reports that a food fight is expected to ensue if New York City lawmakers implement the proposed trans fats ban. Fast food companies would likely sue to challenge the city's ban according to experts.
Lawrence O. Gostin, an associate dean at Georgetown University's law school and director of the Center for Law and the Public's Health, called the proposal "breathtaking."In our last post we listed several resources that do indicate trans fats are a serious health concern. However, there is also the issue of taste. There are alternatives to trans fast but will burgers and doughnuts made with any of these alternatives taste as good? If a fast food company can create tasty burgers and fries cheaply using healthier ingredients then that fast food company might have a big opportunity in today's trans fats wary marketplace.
He said it was sure to prompt a lawsuit challenging the city's authority to enact such a measure. Big fast food companies that use artificial trans fats to prepare french fries, muffins and doughnuts might also sue over the potential impact of the rules on interstate commerce, he said.
"Certainly if there is a local deli in New York that is regulated by the local health department, it is clearly for the city to decide what is safe and what isn't," Gostin said, "But if you're talking about large chains like McDonald's or Burger King ... then there are powerful questions of federalism at stake.
"On the other hand," he added, "when the federal government refuses to act or neglects to act in the face of a major health crisis, then sometimes you need cities and states to step in to the vacuum and protect the public."
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