KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON - Whether it's French fries or stir fry, expect healthier oils and food when eating out in King County. Following the recent implementation of the local trans fat regulation, more than 99% of the restaurants recently inspected are now using oils with zero trans fat for frying, grilling and sautéing or in spreads.
"I am very pleased by the overwhelming success of our partnership with the food industry to eliminate this artificial, unhealthy product from our food," said Julia Patterson, Chair of the King County Board of Health and King County Council. "I congratulate restaurants for their commitment to healthier eating."
"We are creating a healthier and safer food supply in King County," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "Heart disease is one of the leading killers in our county, so eliminating trans fat from our local restaurants means that our residents can enjoy better, healthier options when eating out."
The first phase of King County's trans fat ban went into effect May 1, 2008 and required restaurants to discontinue use of partially hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, for frying, grilling or sautéing, or as a spread that contain 0.5 grams or more of trans fat per serving. Restaurants are still permitted to use products containing trans fat for deep frying cake batter or yeast dough until February 1, 2009, when the second phase of the ban begins. The ban does not apply to food served in the manufacturer's original, sealed packaging.
During the months of June and July, Public Health performed 1,451 restaurant inspections. Of those, only 10, or less than one percent, were found in violation of the trans fat ban mainly due to trans fat in fry oils.
In coming months, Public Health will post a list of establishments that are not in compliance. This Healthy Eating site also offers tips and assistance to restaurants in meeting all aspects of the regulation.
Evidence suggests that consuming artificial trans fat can greatly increase a person's risk of developing heart disease, as well as contribute to conditions like obesity. Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in King County, and about 40, 000 people live with the disease. Also, over half of adults in King County are overweight or obese.