Bakers in New York City have been banned from using any kind of trans fat. The ban, which applies to all foodservice establishments in New York, has been phased in since last year, with the first phase applying to fry oils and spreads.

The ban, which came into force from 1 July, covers food which contains 0.5g of trans fat or more per serving from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarines or shortenings.

The ban applies to all manufacturing businesses required to hold a New York City Health Department permit, including restaurants, bakeries and mobile food vending units. Finished, pre-packaged goods are not covered. Artificial trans fats - found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil - can lead to health problems such as coronary heart disease, as it increases bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers good cholesterol (HDL).

The New York City Health Department said: "Acceptance of the first phase of the trans-fat ruling has been high, with more than 98% of inspected restaurants in compliance as of last month."

Laura Stanley, coordinator of the Trans Fat Help Center, said: "In many cases, bakers don’t need to switch brands; they will simply order new formulations of familiar products.

"We found that some of these products actually worked better than the old versions made with artificial trans fats."

Any business now found to breach the ban will face a fine of between $200 and $2,000, and any violations will also be posted on the Health Depart-ment’s Restaurant Inspection website.


=== Consumer Tracking ===

Staff appearance is the most important factor for customers eating in a quick-service restaurant, according to research and development agency Retail Eyes.

In a survey of over 2,700 people nationally, it was evident that, although customers appreciate a speedy service, there is much more involved in retaining their custom, said the research group.

Staff appearance plays a key role, with 91.6% of respondents claiming that it affects the way they view an establishment and, in turn, the service they expect to receive.

Eighty-six per cent of respondents said the way that staff interact with them affects their decision to visit a location, while 79.5% said they felt staff should be knowledgeable enough to be able to recommend serving suggestions.

Just over 80% of respondents said that they like to be made aware of special offers.

Two out of three customers expect the whole transaction to take less than three minutes. However, only one in 10 said they feel like a valued customer.