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National Restaurant Association - Total trans-fat ban in Chelsea, Mass., on tap

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Total trans-fat ban in Chelsea, Mass., on tap

One of the strictest trans-fat bans in the country will go into effect in Chelsea, Mass., on Jan. 1, 2013.

On that day, it is expected that the city will implement a complete ban of trans fat in packaged and restaurant foods.

While other cities, states and municipalities have passed and enacted similar bans, many allow for up to 0.5 grams per serving of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or trans fat, to be included in some foods, such as baked goods, margarines, shortenings and packaged foods.

In order to comply with the law, said Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., the National Restaurant Association's director of nutrition and healthy living, "It is important that Chelsea's operators make sure they check ingredient labels to identify whether partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are present."

The ban, which was approved by the Chelsea Board of Health last year, states that all foodservice establishments, including bakeries, coffee shops, cafeterias cafes, luncheonettes, grills, delis, tea rooms, sandwich shops, bars, roadside stands and catering kitchens, must comply with the law. Vending machines and mobile truck operators also are subject to compliance with the ban. Anyone found in violation of the ban is subject to a fine of $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for any thereafter. According to the regulation, fines cannot exceed $10,000 per location during a calendar year.

Trans fat generally is used to help extend shelf life and improve texture and taste, but it also has been linked to heart disease.

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