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Getting trans fat out of school vending machines

June 30, 2009 | 12:43 pm

Cafeteria On Wednesday, a state law goes into effect that bans food containing trans fats from being sold at schools in vending machines and by outside contractors. The bill was signed into law two years ago but gave schools and vendors time to prepare for it.

“A poorly nourished child often makes a poor student who can’t concentrate or study well,” said Sen. Elaine K. Alquist (D-Santa Clara), the author of the bill, SB 490.

A separate legislative effort covers school cafeteria food.

Trans fats can be found in vegetable shortenings, cookies, crackers, pies and other foods made with, or fried in, partially hydrogenated oils.

Trans fats have been linked to heart disease. Many restaurants and food manufacturers have eliminated them in response to consumer demand or legislation.

California law requires restaurants to use fats with less than half a gram of trans fats per serving by Jan. 1, 2010; the standard will apply to deep-fried bakery goods a year later.

-- Mary MacVean

Photo: Meal time at Cesar Chavez Elementary. Photo by Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times