The Illinois House of Representatives has approved a bill (H.B. 1600) that would prohibit “food facilities” from selling food containing artificial trans fats. Effective January 1, 2013, the law would apply to any “entity that prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption at the retail level,” including public and private school vending machines. Starting January 1, 2016, the bill would broaden to eliminate the use of artificial trans fats from cafeterias operated by state or local governments or by public or private schools. Most prepackaged foods would be exempt.

If approved by the Illinois Senate and signed by the governor, the law would make Illinois and California the only states to enact trans fat bans. According to the bill’s sponsor, Representative La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), Illinois has the 10th highest percent of obese and overweight children in the country. “Health problems cost our state so much money, and if we can use prevention to keep people out of emergency rooms and keep them healthy, this is a step in that direction,” Ford told a news source. Illinois Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) reportedly plans to introduce similar legislation in the Senate. See Press Release of Representative La Shawn Ford and Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2011.