Calif. passes trans fat ban to Schwarzenegger’s desk

SACRAMENTO Calif. The California Legislature has passed a bill that would require restaurants throughout the state to eliminate trans fats from all menu items during a multi-year process. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has yet to indicate whether he will veto the measure or sign it into law.

Although a number of cities and counties have banned trans fat from restaurant fare, California would be the first state to do so.

The bill approved by the state Legislature on Monday would require foodservice facilities to forgo oils, shortenings and margarines containing trans fats by Jan. 1, 2010. A year-long exemption would be made for oils used to deep-fry baked goods and batter, as in the production of doughnuts.

The known artery clogger would have to be eliminated from baked goods by the start of 2011.

The bill would reportedly allow local governments to adopt trans fat regulations of their own. San Francisco, for instance, would still be allowed to enact its incentive program for eliminating trans fat. Under that set-up, which goes into effect this month, restaurants that voluntarily eliminate partially hydrogenated vegetable oil could pay $250 for an inspection and sticker attesting to their trans-fat-free status.

Atotal ban on trans fat in restaurant-prepared fare has been in place within New York City since July 1.