Proposed Ban On Trans Fats Could be Coming to Texas Restaurants

by Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - State lawmakers are pushing for new rules that may come between Texans and their fried chicken. It's a move to ban all trans fat in restaurants across the state. 

Lawmakers say it's the next step to making sure children grow up healthy. The proposed bill, Senate Bill 204, targets trans fat in all restaurants. But whether you like the idea or or don't, businesses here agree, if a ban is put in place it will have an impact.   

"If you are a start-up restaurant or independent restaurant, and use quite a bit of oil, if you are in the fried business, then this bill will probably effect you one way or another," Jerry Morales, the President of the Permian Basin Restaurant Association, explained.

Changes could be on the way for how restaurant owners cook and what you eat the next time you sit down for dinner - All the trans fat may have to go.

"There's been talks about obesity," Morales said. "You know it's about our kids, and making sure that we're providing good, healthy food for them because they are the future."

Morales is also the owner of Gerardo's Casita Restaurant in Midland, and said if it passes, it would make it a violation to cook using certain vegetable oils, like to make chips and tacos.

"What would be the biggest setback would be our cost would double on those oils," Morales said. "So, again, if a restauranteur is using 40 pounds of oil per week, apparently and they are only paying 15 dollars, then they would go to 30 or 40 dollars."

"No one can give me any specifics on what actually is in there," Tommy Sandlin, the owner of Bush's Chicken in Odessa, said.

Sandlin said there's still lots of questions on the proposed bill, including how inspectors would measure the exact trans fat in a product. Either way, he said it's not good business.

"It will be higher costs," Sandlin added. "Even if we retain what we are using now, and further purified, those steps are going to cost money. That means increased cost to everyone who uses it. Not just me, but everyone in the restaurant business using shortening for flavor, french fries on down."

And while not everyone agrees trans fat directly leads to health risks, Morales said the bill has plenty of room to promote health.

"It's a healthier economy, and again we need to think about the issue of obesity and this would be obesity and high cholesterol, clogged arteries, those type of things, we are definitely going to be eliminating that process," Morales said.

Other states already have similar trans fat bans like California and New York.