California to Ban Trans Fats, Needs Schwarzenegger Signature

California to ban trans fatsCalifornia will become the first state in the Union to ban trans fats in restaurants and other public food facilities if Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs into into law a bill passed by the state legislature Monday. Schwarzenegger has yet to announce his position publicly but he did sign a ban on trans fats in public school cafeterias last year.

Michelle Malkin wants to know, “Will Gov. Schwarzenegger actually sign this junk science meddle-gislation? Is this the kind of ‘rebranding’ of the Republican Party Schwarzenegger wants the national GOP to adopt?” It’s a fair question.

Such laws are a ridiculous overreach, in my view.  Dan Walters is right to worry about legislatures reacting to the latest scientific headlines rather than waiting for conclusive research.

Almost any product, activity or lifestyle in a modern society (sky diving, unprotected sex or crossing the street, for instance) poses some kind of theoretical risk, which means that life is a series of choices between competing values and impulses.

Trans fats, for instance, were developed to allow vegetable oils to replace animal fat, such as lard, in foods on the assumption that they would be healthier, but recent research indicates that they have health effects of their own, especially in raising levels of so-called “bad cholesterol.” But would banning them encourage restaurants to shift to even more questionable fats, such as palm oil, or return to lard? Potential consequences are rarely considered in the Capitol.

Indeed.

The silver lining here is that this is, after all, California we’re talking about.  The Golden State is often on the cutting edge of legislative experimentation, often setting a trend years or even decades before others follow.  Sometimes, they get it spectacularly wrong.  The beauty of federalism, though, is that the several states can serve as laboratories for these measures as their local cultures dictate.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Consider their legislation as regards auto emissions. There isn’t a driver in the country who doesn’t pay a longer buck for gas, and for their car, because of what Califonia enacts.

    What starts out there, ends up out here… good or not.

  2. Steve says:

    The beauty of federalism, though, is that the several states can serve as laboratories for these measures as their local cultures dictate.

    We in California are not happy about being Lab rats for the rest of you.

  3. sam says:

    Consider their legislation as regards auto emissions. There isn’t a driver in the country who doesn’t pay a longer buck for gas, and for their car, because of what Califonia enacts.

    Spent a lot of time in LA, Bit?

    The beauty of federalism, though, is that the several states can serve as laboratories for these measures as their local cultures dictate.

    Absolutely.

  4. Michael says:

    We in California are not happy about being Lab rats for the rest of you.

    Then stop voting to be lab rats.

  5. Michael says:

    There isn’t a driver in the country who doesn’t pay a longer buck for gas, and for their car, because of what Califonia enacts.

    And we get cleaner burning fuels and more efficient cars from the process.

    The thing is that you and I are no longer isolated form each other, and the choices that you make will effect me in some way. Take trans-fats, if they are making a significant portion of the population unhealthy, even if by their own choice, it increases the average “risk” in your insurance “risk pool”, and results in you paying more for your health insurance.

  6. Bithead says:

    Spent a lot of time in LA, Bit?

    Enough.

    And we get cleaner burning fuels and more efficient cars from the process

    Not in the least. What we got initially was marginally cleaner, but inefficient cars, that couldn’t breathe through the smog equipment. We got fuel mixtures which also burn less efficiently. Perhaps you don’t remember those smog pumps. I do.

    The thing is that you and I are no longer isolated form each other, and the choices that you make will effect me in some way. Take trans-fats, if they are making a significant portion of the population unhealthy, even if by their own choice, it increases the average “risk” in your insurance “risk pool”, and results in you paying more for your health insurance

    So much for federalism. The power moves from the various states and from Washington to Sacremento.
    Cute.

  7. Michael says:

    So much for federalism. The power moves from the various states and from Washington to Sacremento.
    Cute.

    You mean so much for isolationism. Anything significant that happens anywhere in this country (and to a lesser extent, in the world) has an eventual effect on the rest of us. Sacremento isn’t special in this, they just seem to change the status-quo more often.

  8. Spoker says:

    We in California are not happy about being Lab rats for the rest of you.

    Then stop voting to be lab rats.

    Michael, a great thought but unfortunately we need to have voters that are at least marginally smarter than the lab rats for that to work. So far, no such luck!

  9. Michael says:

    Michael, a great thought but unfortunately we need to have voters that are at least marginally smarter than the lab rats for that to work. So far, no such luck!

    Well Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all other forms of government.

  10. Spoker says:

    Well Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all other forms of government.

    I could not agree more but it does mean we Californians will remain lab rats for the foreseeable future.

    As someone once said “In an insane world, the sane man is the one that is truly insane.”

  11. teqjack says:

    CA may be the first state, but NYCity has already banned transfats.

    Except they allow a certain amount of trasnfat from “natural” sources, such as butter OK margarine BAN.

    Problem starting to appear – there is no way to tell the difference in, say, a croissant.

    Oops.

  12. anjin-san says:

    What we got initially was marginally cleaner, but inefficient cars, that couldn’t breathe through the smog equipment.

    And what we have now, or at least what I have, is a car that will go like a bat out of hell, while running very clean. Because California took the lead.

  13. Bithead says:

    But one that could performa whole bunch better, without all the EPA crap on it.
    Ever work on a race car, Anjin? If you did, one of the first thing you’d notice is that there’s a total lack of such things.

    With it, we’re costing ourselves fuel, and performance. Gee, just what we need to do just now is waste fuel, right?

    All because California took the lead.

  14. Will says:

    OK-go California and get rid of those pesky trans fats-no one needs that in their diet and there are better oils to substitute.