Mary Cheh, the DC councilwoman who wants mandatory letter grades outside of restaurants, also introduced a bill to ban trans-fats from the city’s restaurants
because DC has an inferiority complex about New York City and California to save lives. This is dumb, obviously, but it’s an occasion to bring up San Francisco’s surprisingly more sensible approach (made irrelevant by California’s coming statewide ban):
[…] restaurant owners who prove they serve nothing containing trans fats will get bragging rights in the form of a decal with a green heart emblazoned with a silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge and the words “Trans Fat Free San Francisco Restaurant.”
The sticker – which is so attractive it’s worthy of framing, according to one public health official – will cost restaurant owners $250 and time spent documenting every ingredient they serve. Or, they can pay the inspector $150 an hour (time-and-a-half after hours and on weekends) to document everything in the kitchen for them.
That tells customers what they might want to know, preserves choice, and brings in some revenue for the city. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give city councilors that electric thrill of banning something they disapprove of, so I doubt a proposal like that would pass in DC.
Also, the “suitable for framing” line quoted above confirms my contention that food regulators have no sense of aesthetics.
Paul Roberts and I debated food bans in the LA Times last summer.