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State bill would limit trans fats Planned ban directed at chain restaurants

The author of the state's ban on using cell phones while driving has set his sights on a new target: eliminating trans fats in restaurant foods.

Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, has introduced legislation modeled on a recent move by New York City that calls for banning trans-fat products in chain restaurants throughout the state.

The measure also would require restaurants to post nutritional information, such as calorie, fat and sodium content, on menu items.

"We need to provide all New Yorkers with the opportunity to eat healthier foods and to be able to see exactly what the nutritional value is of the food that they are eating," Ortiz said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said eating foods containing trans fats can raise levels of so-called bad cholesterol.

Over the years, the food industry has used trans fatty acids, listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, to extend shelf life of products and to make certain foods, such as french fries, taste better.

In 2000, Ortiz, who has championed other anti-obesity and nutrition issues in the Capitol for several years, pushed through the nation's first law restricting the use of cell phones while driving.

e-mail: tprecious@buffnews.com

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