239219 Cambridge trans fat ban: Results of using a collaborative approach

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Josefine Wendel, MS, RD, LDN , School Health Program, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Leanne Lasher, MPH , Division of Epidemiology and Data Services, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Dawn B. Olcott, MS , School Health Program, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Martha Flynn , Inspectional Services Department, City of Cambridge, Cambridge, MA
Stacey E. King, MS , Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Susan Kilroy-Ames, MPH , Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Susan Breen, MS, RN , School Health Program, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH , Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
On July 24, 2008, the Cambridge Public Health Department promulgated a regulation to eliminate the use of artificial trans fat in Cambridge restaurants and other food service establishments. The regulation was phased in starting July 1, 2009 and took full effect as of October 1, 2009.

The trans fat ban impacts approximately 700 Cambridge businesses and institutions that serve prepared foods, including restaurants, bakeries, bars, retail stores, daycare centers, food pantries, schools and universities, and work sites with cafeterias.

Even before the trans fat ban went into effect, almost 50% of local restaurants reported not using artificial trans fat and 88% believed they could switch to trans fat free within a year. Using a collaborative approach and allowing enough transition time, the local Trans Fat Task Force intended to create the opportunity for all food service establishments to be successful in the transition to trans fat free.

The Cambridge Inspectional Services Department (ISD) conducts semi-annual inspections in each of the Cambridge food service establishments impacted by the trans fat ban. Between July 2009 and June 2010, the Cambridge ISD conducted 1,111 inspections. Products that contained artificial trans fat were found during 35 (3.2%) of inspections. Products without nutrition label were found during 86 (7.7%) of inspections. Analysis per quarter shows a clear downward trend for both findings. All establishments that had a violation took action to resolve the matter. No fines were issued.

Cambridge achieved a successful and non-controversial implementation of its trans fat regulation.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Name three benefits of a multidisciplinary, participatory strategy to developing a citywide ban on trans fat. 2. Adapt described strategy to develop trans fat bans in other communities. 3. Describe the results of the implementation of the trans fat ban.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the nutritionist responsible for the implementation of the trans fat policy
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.