Earlier this year Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported that for the first time in Australia Kogarah Council, in Sydney’s south, was to use its planning powers to ban synthetic trans fatty acids in deep- and shallow-fat frying in food outlets and council childcare centres.
This motion took shape when a friend of Kogarah councillors suffered a stroke. An education campaign was to encourage existing businesses to switch to less harmful alternatives.
Synthetic trans fats are found in margarine, cooking fats for deep frying, and shortening for baking. They are also found naturally in meat and milk, but are known to raise the risk of heart disease, increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol in the blood.
Councils don’t have the power to make the ban across the board, but they do have the authority to place conditions of consent or use its planning powers to require that people who want to start up a new business don’t use trans fats.
It seems all new food outlets in NSW could be banned from using potentially deadly trans fats in their cooking, under a plan scheduled for debate at next week’s local government conference.
Gosford Council is proposing to change planning regulations to stop new cafes and restaurants from using the controversial fats.
Gosford became the second NSW council to ban trans fats in June, after Kogarah vetoed them in May 2008, but Gosford’s Greens Councillor Terri Latella wants a statewide ban.
Both councils amended local Development Control Plans, forcing new businesses to use healthier oils. Terri says:
“We’ve got the opportunity … to actively get new businesses to not use trans fatty oils in their cooking…It’s something we can regulate.”
A worthwhile council approach, don’t you agree?