Philadelphia ready to follow NYC in limiting trans fats

PHILADELPHIA Mayor John Street is expected to make this city the second in the nation to regulate the trans-fat content of restaurant fare by signing into law the near-ban passed Thursday by the City Council.

The Council-approved bill, patterned after a measure that takes effect in New York City on July 1, would limit the trans-fat content of foods prepared in restaurants to .5 gram per serving as of Sept. 1, 2008. However, it differs from the New York rule in its labeling requirements. New York restaurants that disclose the caloric content of their menu choices will be required to post that information on their menu boards or menus as of Oct. 1. The Philadelphia initiative mandates that restaurants not remove any ingredients labels from the packages in which their food supplies are received from their vendors, or, alternatively, to secure that information from the suppliers.  The stipulation was included to allow enforcement of the trans-fat restriction.

Yet the Philadelphia bill does not call for fines or other penalties. Proponents had said they favored some sort of remedial education for violators, but the details have yet to be determined.