Starbucks Chucks Trans Fats

Joining the growing list of suddenly health-conscious food chains, Seattle-based Starbucks announced that, starting today, it is eliminating all trans fats from its food products in 10 cities. The company hopes to purge trans fats from all of its U.S. and Canadian stores by the end of 2007.

Today’s announcement affects only company-owned and -operated stores in 10 cities: Seattle, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. (It does not apply to auxiliary outlets that are operated by third parties, such as in airports and bookstores.) The company has no plans to eliminate them from their beverages, which may include a nominal amount of trans fats due to the inclusion of dairy products.

The issue of trans fats came to prominence last month when the New York City Board of Health banned them in all of the food sold in the city’s restaurants. The city hopes to eliminate trans fat from all frying oils by July of this year and to eliminate them from all foods sold in New York by July of 2008. So far, chains including KFC, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell have announced concerted efforts to reduce trans fats in their fast-food stores, most likely in response to the New York City Board of Health’s demands.

Trans-fatty acids have been clearly linked to heart disease, clogged arteries, and obesity. They have also been found to reduce HDL (good) cholesterol while increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol.

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