Lawmakers delay hearing on school trans fat ban

Feb 2, 2012, 7:11 PM

Associated Press

DENVER (AP) – The nation’s leanest state is taking its sweet time as it considers a proposal aimed at getting junk food out of schools.

A Colorado House committee was expected to discuss a bill that represents the nation’s toughest regulations meant to keep trans fat away from students, but lawmakers Thursday delayed the hearing without explanation.

The bill would forbid trans fat in cafeteria lunches _ but it wouldn’t stop there.

The proposed ban would apply to snacks in vending machines, bake sale goodies and popular “a la carte” items on lunch lines such as ice creams or pizza, requiring any such treats to be prepared without artery-clogging trans fats.

Small amounts of trans fats occur naturally in many meat and dairy products, but most come from partially hydrogenated cooking oil. Many types of cooking fats, such as shortening, are available without trans fat.

Colorado’s measure would not apply to naturally occurring trans fats. But setting the proposal apart from other states with similar restrictions is a provision that extends to before- and after-school hours.

Delaware and California, for example, both ban school food with trans fat, but not at all after-school activities.

Colorado has the nation’s lowest obesity rate, but that percentage is rising among young people.

In 2007, Colorado’s childhood obesity rate was the nation’s third-best. By 2010 it ranked 23rd according to the Colorado Health Foundation, a change researchers attribute to sedentary behavior and a growing childhood poverty rate.

Lawmakers who sponsored the measure, a Republican and a Democrat, said that for Colorado to hang onto its prized leanest-state title the state has to make healthy eating a higher priority for children.

“Colorado is one of the healthiest states but has the one of the highest rates of childhood obesity,” said House Education Chairman Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, one of the bill’s sponsors. “So if we’re going to do something about that, this is a step in the right direction.”

The American Heart Association and other supporters of the measure are working to assure skeptical lawmakers that the ban wouldn’t forbid childhood faves such as pizza and french fries.

“You can still have the exact same food,” association lobbyist Susanna Morris said. “You’d have to find different ways of preparing them.”

Colorado’s Department of Education doesn’t have a statewide trans fat standard.

Janelle Asmus, a spokeswoman for the state education department, said a review “found the amount of trans fat in a school meal to be minimal.”

But, Asmus added, the review didn’t include items for sale in vending machines and after-school activities such as bake sales.

The Legislature has not estimated how much the change would cost local schools. The bill would not require changes to school kitchens or food preparation methods.

Colorado’s best-known school nutritionist says the complete trans fat ban is do-able. Ann Cooper, author of the “Renegade Lunch Lady” blog, is in charge of food service at the Boulder Valley district, thought to be the only public school district in the state that is trans fat free.

“We don’t serve convenience food. We don’t serve junk food,” Cooper said. “That’s where the trans fat is. You cook from scratch, it’s not a problem cutting all the trans fat.”

If approved, Colorado’s trans-fat ban would take effect next school year. Supporters say the proposal may be amended to give schools more time to comply, a change they accept. The bill may also be amended to exempt fundraisers from the ban, protecting many sporting-event concessions such as nachos.


Follow Kristen Wyatt at



Senate Bill 68:

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters following a closed-door ...
Associated Press

Dems want to tax high earners to protect Medicare solvency

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats want to boost taxes on some high earners and use the money to extend the solvency of Medicare, the latest step in the party’s election-year attempt to craft a scaled-back version of the economic package that collapsed last year, Democratic aides told The Associated Press. Democrats expect to submit legislative […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Flags of countries of the world hang over an empty Terminal E, at Logan Airport in Boston, S...
Associated Press

FAA to give airports $1 billion for terminals and upgrades

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is giving nearly $1 billion to 85 airports to expand and upgrade terminals and other facilities, using money approved in last year’s huge infrastructure bill. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the projects will help meet future demand for travel and make flying safer and more efficient. “I don’t think […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's WNBA ...
Associated Press

Griner’s Moscow trial resumes amid calls for US to seek deal

MOSCOW (AP) — Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner returns to a Russian court on Thursday amid a growing chorus of calls for Washington to do more to secure her release nearly five months after she was arrested on drug charges. Griner was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after vape canisters with cannabis […]
3 hours ago
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquart...
Associated Press

Asian stocks higher after Fed says rate hikes may be needed

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets gained Thursday after the Federal Reserve said higher U.S. interest rates might be needed to cool inflation. Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney advanced. Hong Kong declined. Oil prices edged higher after falling below $100 per barrel this week. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.4% on Wednesday after notes […]
1 day ago
FILE - Sumo wrestler Takayuki Ichihara from Japan, left, fights against Keisho Shimoda from Japan, ...
Associated Press

Pandemic-delayed World Games open in Birmingham a year late

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Games open Thursday in Alabama featuring more than 3,600 athletes participating in non-Olympic events including sumo wrestling, gymnastics, pickleball, martial arts and tug of war. The opening ceremony, set for Thursday night at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, includes performances by Nelly […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Sentencing set for 2 in Arizona ballot harvesting case

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — Two women are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in southern Arizona for their conviction for illegally collecting four early ballots during the 2020 primary election. Authorities say Guillermina Fuentes and Alma Juarez participated in “ballot harvesting.” That’s a practice once used by both political parties to boost turnout but was made […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Lawmakers delay hearing on school trans fat ban