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.
Cambridge became the third municipality in Massachusetts, after Brookline and Boston, to ban the use of artificial trans fat in food service establishments.
About 700 Cambridge businesses and institutions that serve prepared foods will be impacted by the regulation. These establishments include restaurants, bakeries, bars, retail stores, daycare centers, food pantries, schools and universities, and work sites with cafeterias.
The regulation took effect on July 1, 2009 with respect to cooking oils, shortening, and margarines containing artificial trans fat. Establishments may continue to use products containing artificial trans fat as a recipe ingredient and for deep-frying cake batter and yeast dough until Oct. 1, 2009, when the regulation takes full effect.
The ban does not apply to items sold or served in the manufacturer's original sealed package bearing the "Nutrition Facts" label, with the exception of foods and beverages served in the city's public and private schools (K-12).
The health department decided in favor of a ban on the strength of the scientific evidence linking trans fat to coronary heart disease, the inability of consumers to know the artificial trans fat content of meals prepared away from home, and the desire to protect patrons of all Cambridge food service establishments.
Since 2007, health department staff have worked closely with restaurants, school food service staff, city leaders, and others to develop a constructive process for eliminating trans fat use in Cambridge food service establishments.
For more information about the implementation plan and the community engagement process, see the health department's 2008 report, Eliminating Artificial Trans Fat from Cambridge Food Service Establishments (PDF).
Last revised on September 2010