City of Cleveland sues Ohio State for blocking trans fat ban

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

City of Cleveland sues Ohio State for blocking trans fat ban
The city of Cleveland has sued the state of Ohio for its attempt to block a proposed ban on the sale of certain products containing artificial trans fats.

Last April, the Cleveland City Council passed an initiative to ban the sale of artificial trans fat-containing foods from local grocery stores and restaurants – but in June, the Ohio Senate amended the state budget to block the city’s ability to regulate ingredients used in the city to prepare foods, a move that the city mayor says is unconstitutional.

Evidence has mounted over the past 20 years that artificial trans fats raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol), thereby clogging arteries and causing heart disease. However, trans fats in the form of partially hydrogenated oils are attractive to food manufacturers, as they are solid at room temperature, extend product shelf life, are stable at high temperatures, and are inexpensive alternatives to other solid fats.

Announcing the lawsuit, filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said that the legal amendment made by the state to block the ban breached the city’s constitutional right to home rule authority.

He said: “The health and well-being of Cleveland is the responsibility of the City of Cleveland and we are taking proactive steps to help make everyone in Cleveland healthier. One of those steps was a ban on industrially produced trans fat in local restaurants and food shops.”

Among organizations opposed to the ban is the Ohio Restaurant Association, which has argued that a city-wide trans fat ban could cost jobs, deterring outside investment and making it harder for existing restaurants to grow their business.

The ban was proposed as part of the Healthy Cleveland Initiative, and would take effect for most local food shops from January 1, 2013, and for foods with yeast, like dough and doughnuts, from July 1, 2013. Packaged retail items sold in grocery stores would not be included, but local food shops would have to provide labels concerning certain trans-fat-containing ingredients used to make foods in-store.

Current trans fat bans encompass areas that cover about 20% of the US population. On the back of growing concern about trans fats, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a regulation that was implemented in 2006 requiring manufacturers to list trans fatty acids on the nutrition panel of foods, providing further motivation for manufacturers to cut trans fats from their products, but there is no such labeling requirement for restaurants in Ohio.

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8 comments

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Soylent Green?

Posted by George Robinson,

Pass a law--- I certainly trust the judgement of a politician, after all aren't they the guys who can't make it in real life so instead steal from the public. How many restaurants will breach how many contracts to follow this law. Liberals are truly stupid...

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take a stand or lie on a gourney

Posted by Dietitian Magician,

As a cardiac rehab dietitian, I know consumers don't know where trans fat is hidden in foods - dining out fare, coffee creamers, icings, popcorn, chips,pizzas etc. The food labels are deceptive, allowed to state, "Trans fat free" and STILL CONTAIN this fat as dangerous as smoking. I whole heartedly support this ban. Its neccessary becasue food labels DONT tell the whole story. And dining out is like shopping for clothes with no labels...limited information to guide consumers.

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Are people too stupid to make good choices?

Posted by Will A,

This is the rhetorical question often posed by opposers of government intervention. But the question is fatally flawed at least in one important way: it assumes that perfect information (that is, information that is accurate and timely) will always result in perfect outcomes. The fact is that the former does not always lead to the latter. And in those cases when a decision beneficial to the population as a whole cannot be readily made by individuals government agencies need to consider intervening. Do I worry about the so-called “slippery slope”? Yes, I do. I mostly worry about the slope’s direction. We all live on a slope. The decisions we make only change the pitch and the direction. And if the slope tilts towards a healthier population, lower health care costs, and better quality of life I am all for it.

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