Bloomberg takes some credit for FDA proposal to reduce trans fats

Mayor Michael Bloomberg
After the FDA announced a phaseout of artificial trans fats Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quick to credit his administration’s efforts for the move.
Credit: NYC Mayor’s Office

After the Food and Drug Administration announced a phaseout of artificial trans fats Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quick to credit his administration’s efforts for the move.

“The groundbreaking public health policies we have adopted here in New York City have become a model for the nation for one reason: they’ve worked,” the mayor said in a statement.

In 2006, New York City was the first in the nation to prohibit restaurants from using most trans fats, he said.

“Since then, at least 15 states and localities have followed suit and banned trans fats — and more than ten fast food chains have eliminated trans fats entirely,” Bloomberg said.

The FDA ruled that partially hydrogenated oils, found in artificial trans fats, aren’t “generally recognized as safe” in food — contrary to previous beliefs. The agency opened a 60-day review in which lobbyists and food manufacturers can defend their product and research alternatives.

The FDA said the proposed phaseout could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

“Today, we’re greatly encouraged that the FDA proposed measures that would virtually eliminate the artery-clogging and unnecessary ingredient from our nation’s food supply,” Bloomberg said.

As his administration comes to an end, the mayor will perhaps be best known for his health initiatives. Many of these have, as he put it, “faced fierce initial criticism, only to gain widespread acceptance and support.”

The mayor mentioned just two initiatives — smoke-free restaurants and bars and calorie counts — but he has also pushed for cutting salt in prepackaged foods, limiting public smoking, alcohol access and soda intake, regulating tanning salons and has encouraged stair-use through building design.

“Today, New Yorkers’ life expectancy is far higher than the national average, and we’ve achieved dramatic reductions in disease, including heart disease,” he said.

But Bloomberg didn’t take all the credit for the FDA’s proposal.

“The FDA deserves great credit for taking this step, which will help Americans live longer, healthier lives,” he said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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