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Dining centers cut trans fats


BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 29, 2007 – Dining Services has pulled ahead of the pack in cutting trans fat from its menus--surpassing restaurants like Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, and others who have announced that they also will be making the change this spring.

Starting this semester, all frying and butter-flavored oils are trans fat free. This means that all deep fried items (with the exception of Chick-fil-A® fries) are now cooked in trans fat free oil. The butter-flavored oil is used to prepare grilled items, such as sandwiches, and is also used as a seasoning in more than 100 popular recipes, such as burgers and garlic mashed potatoes at West End Market and breakfast omelets at D2. Plans are in the works to change over to trans fat-free margarine and shortening as well, as soon as a suitable product is found.

The goal is for all food served in Virginia Tech dining centers to be trans fat-free. Many foods come directly from the manufacturer containing trans fats, so this is not yet the case. As more trans fat-free items become available, they will be evaluated for use on campus.

Trans fats are created when vegetable oils are hydrogenated and have a negative effect on blood cholesterol. They can raise the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower the levels of HDL (healthy cholesterol). Trans fats are mandatory on product labels, and are the central issue in several ongoing lawsuits (particularly against fast food outlets). Many companies are voluntarily removing trans fats from their products, or establishing trans-free product lines; while some, such as restaurants in New York City, are required by law to eliminate trans fats. A bill is currently under study in Richmond that would eliminate all trans fat from public schools in the state of Virginia. If passed, it will take effect in fall of 2008.

For more information on the nutrient content of our menu items, please visit www.studentprograms.vt.edu/yes.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.