In today's NY Sun the paper writes about the concern among non-English speaking restaurant owners that the proposed ban on trans fat was poorly advertised in the neighborhood eateries and that the current implementation schedule is too swift. As the head of the Latino Restaurant Association points out, "None of my members received letters...What will happen is a lot of my members will be targeted, will be ticketed as cash cows."
Precisely so, yet, according to the NY Daily News, the Health Department said that "materials about trans fat were widely distributed in several languages." One wonders where this wide circulation occurred, perhaps in the circular file.
As the Alliance's Richard Lipsky told the News, "The small restaurants are going to be hit with an avalanche of fines." There is a need for the city to slow this process up and begin to engage in as dialogue with the industry so that there can be the development of a public private partnership in the promotion of healthier eating. The issuance of edicts with the full force of law is much too premature and is counterproductive; as well as it is injurious to the small business community.
When DOH wanted to promote low fat milk in low income areas it began an outreach program with the city's bodegas that should be seen as a model of the kind of partnership we're referring to. Take our word for it, Dr. Frieden, the outreach effort was not sufficient and this current implementation process needs to be re-thought.