Mass. health official looks for alternate route to trans-fat ban

BOSTON A month after the state legislature failed to ban trans fat from restaurant kitchens, Massachusetts’ top health official is reportedly looking to outlaw the artery clogger by decree.

Public health commissioner John Auerbach told the Boston Globe that he was investigating whether the state health department has the authority to impose a ban similar to the one he helped to push into law while he was public health chief of Boston. That law takes effect Sept. 13.

The state health department “has wide-ranging powers, and I believe that this prohibition may just fit within those powers,” Auerbach was quoted as saying in the report.

Auerbach applauded Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian’s efforts to push a ban through the statehouse earlier this summer. The initiative was approved by the House of Representatives in June, but it was not put to a vote in the Senate before that body adjourned in July for the summer.

The ban was not opposed by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, according to the Globe article.

Last month, California became the first state to ban trans fat in restaurants. It was banned in New York City in 2006.