food safety regulation, FDA, consumer practice, federal regulation, public health, food supply

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On March 7, 2007, the New York Times reported that Starbucks, the retail coffee chain which sells millions of baked goods every day from its over 8,700 U.S. stores, had asked its suppliers to eliminate all trans fats from their products by the end of the year. The big story for New York readers, though, was not that Starbucks was requiring the elimination of trans fats from its baked goods. In fact, New York City had just passed an ordinance strictly limiting the use of artificial trans fats, the type present in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (PHVO), by virtually all of the city's food service establishments. Rather, the "scoop" for New York readers was the source of the trans fats being eliminated by Starbucks' bakeries - butter!