Leventhal Applauds FDA Decision on Trans Fats

leventhal3Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal, who also serves as chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee, today congratulated the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its decision to no longer recognize partially hydrogenated oils as safe for use in food.

In 2007, the County Council passed a Board of Health regulation that restricted the use of trans fats in food sold in restaurants and in prepared foods sold in supermarkets, making it the first county in the nation to approve such restrictions.

For more than 20 years, scientific studies have shown a link between trans fats and obesity and heart disease. Trans fats have been shown to increase LDL or “bad” cholesterol and lower HDL or “good” cholesterol. The FDA has estimated that removing trans fats from food could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and approximately 7,000 deaths annually. These factors contributed to FDA’s determination that partially hydrogenated oil is no longer recognized as safe to consume.

“Today’s determination by the FDA is a triumph for consumer protection and public health,” said Leventhal. “I want to thank the Center for Science in the Public Interest for its continuous advocacy on this issue. Its efforts helped educate the Council about the dangers of trans fats, and we took appropriate steps to protect our residents, years ahead of federal action. Now, I am delighted that individuals across the nation will be protected from the harmful effects of trans fats.”

In 2007, the Council, acting as the County’s Board of Health, adopted a regulation that banned the use of trans fats in most foods sold in Montgomery County restaurants and prepared food selections sold in supermarkets. This regulation took effect on Jan. 1, 2008 and was similar to legislation adopted by the New York City Board of Health. When the regulation was approved, Montgomery was the first county in the nation to take such an action.

The Council’s efforts related to public health, such as trans fat restrictions, have paid dividends for County residents. Actions such as that one have led to Montgomery County being named the healthiest county in the U.S. by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the past two years.

More information about Montgomery County’s trans fat regulation can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/qfjel7o.

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