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Texas Restaurant Industry Supports Bill To Ban Use Of Trans Fats

no trans fat sign-flickr user Ross Belmont-rossbelmont.jpg
Flickr user Ross Belmont (rossbelmont)

Much like laws in the other states that ban restaurants and food eateries from using trans fats, Texas senators are now considering a similar measure in House Bill 1359.  

"The bill prohibits the use of any trans fats above .5 grams, and it doesn’t have any enforcement provisions in it, but it does allow the food inspection department to provide some grading on the restaurants using or not using trans fats," said Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, who authored the bill.

Rodriguez said Texas is behind the curve when it comes to banning the use of trans fats and said he has the full support of the restaurant industry.

Glen Garey is the general counsel for the Texas Restaurant Association and testified in favor of the bill.

"I think most of our chains have already abandoned trans fats," Carey said. "This primarily would affect fryers, where you do French fries, that kind of thing. In the gentlest form of kind of persuasion is being used, which is a demerit off your health score, so I think this gets us there without getting people shut down for providing an inadequate food source."

That same favor doesn’t rest with Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who told the committee restaurants shouldn’t cancel their contracts with any food vendors supplying trans fats in the near future. 

Rodriguez said major food chains like McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Krispy Kreme have already removed foods with trans fats from their menu, a maneuver applauded by the American Health Association, American Diabetes Association and American College of Pediatrics

Rodriguez said his bill hits close to home, especially considering the large percentage of Latinos suffering from obesity and diabetes.  

For now the bill was left pending in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.