July 25, 2008 / 11:19 PM / 11 years ago

Trans fats banned in California restaurant food

KFC and McDonald's signboards are shown in Los Angeles October 3, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California restaurants will no longer be able to prepare food using trans fats, under legislation signed on Friday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that makes the state the first in the country to ban the unsaturated fats that raise the risk of heart disease.

The bill will be phased in starting in 2010 across California, where diet-conscious legislation has been gaining momentum in recent years.

New York City and Philadelphia are among other U.S. jurisdictions with laws banning trans fats.

“California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats,” said Schwarzenegger, a former bodybuilding champion.

“Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California,” he added.

California Restaurant Association members will comply with the new law, said spokesman Daniel Conway. “Many of them are already voluntarily moving away from the use of trans fats,” he said.

The association opposed the legislation because it believes such rules should be made at the federal level by agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Conway said.

(Additional reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles)

Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by Peter Cooney

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