Multnomah County, OR Educating the Public About Artificial Trans Fat
Status: Adopted on 1/25/07
RESOLUTION NO. 07-022
Directing the Multnomah County Health Department to Prepare a Strategic Plan to Educate the Public About the Health Hazards Associated with Consuming Artificial Trans Fat
The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners Finds:
a. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Multnomah County, accounting for more than 23% of all deaths in 2004.
b. The consumption of trans fat (trans unsaturated fatty acids, a solid fat produced artificially by partially hydrogenating vegetable oils) has been shown to significantly increase the risk of serious cardiovascular disease and is more harmful to cardiovascular health than other types of cooking oils. One landmark study found that women who consumed the highest levels of trans fat had a risk of heart disease about 30 percent higher than those who ate the lowest levels.
c. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cites scientific evidence showing that trans fat raises a person’s harmful cholesterol level (LDL) and reduces good cholesterol (HDL). As a result, the FDA now requires trans fat content to be listed on all packaged food labels.
d. The New York City Board of Health has restricted the service of unhealthful artificial trans fat by the more than 20,000 food service establishments in their city.
e. Patrons of Multnomah County restaurants do not know whether the foods they are eating contain trans fat and, if they are eating trans fat, the amount they are eating, thus exposing them to unnecessary health risks.
f. Multnomah County’s schoolchildren may also be consuming untold amounts of trans fat in their school cafeterias.
g. The Multnomah County Health Department serves as the Local Public Health Authority.
h. Pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement, the State of Oregon has delegated to the Local Public Health Authority the authority to license restaurants. It may adopt rules more stringent than those adopted by the State with approval from the Oregon Director of the Department of Human Services.
i. The State of Oregon does not limit trans fat in restaurants.
j. School cafeterias operate under rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education. Trans fat consumption by school-aged children in school cafeterias is not currently regulated by the federal government.
The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners Resolves:
1. The Multnomah County Health Department acting in its capacity as the Local Public Health Authority, in consultation with the County Attorney’s Office, is directed to prepare a strategic plan to educate the public about the health hazards associated with consuming artificial trans fats.
2. As part of the process in preparing this plan, the Health Department is instructed to make full use of Multnomah County’s current systems for distributing health information, including, but not limited to existing newsletters, websites and advertising. The Health Department is also instructed to implement a public involvement and community outreach process regarding the disclosure of trans fats served in restaurants; and to involve the local school districts in the public outreach process regarding trans fats in foods served in school cafeterias. The Health Department is encouraged to consider grants and private funds as a resource to augment existing outreach programs. The Health Department shall make a report to the Board, with opportunity for additional public comment, by April 5, 2007.