Trans Fat Spiral Widens

The bandwagon’s getting more crowded every day. We told you last week that the New York City trans fat ban has been spreading like a grease wildfire, and the flames keep rising. The Palm Springs Desert Sun reports that California Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia has introduced a bill that would forbid the state’s more than 80,000 restaurants from cooking with trans fat. While ultimately advocating the rather dubious alternative of a fat tax, The Sacramento Bee editorialized in favor of caution on banning trans fats outright:

[S]tate lawmakers should be careful about cloning the Big Apple’s ban. Many health authorities want trans fat to be phased out, but they worry that an outright ban will prompt restaurants and food companies to switch to saturated fats, such as palm oil, that pose their own health problems. An outright ban could win headlines for Garcia and may result in unintended consequences.

The Bee‘s editorial board isn’t the only one generating buzz against heavy-handed fat bans. Wall Street Journal business columnist Holman Jenkins penned a stinging rebuke this morning:

New York health regulators comfort themselves that the switch will be cost-free. It won’t be. Mom-and-pop ethnic restaurants will have an especially difficult time comprehending the regulation and figuring out how to meet it … Yet when the day is over, one fat will simply have been replaced with another. New York’s ban will likely have a microscopic effect on the health of New Yorkers, or perhaps none at all … [D]on’t be bowled over if fat regulation gradually proceeds to caloric regulation as government expands its fiscal responsibility for our health care.

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