CHELSEA, Mass. – The National Restaurant Association is speaking out against a zero-tolerance ban against trans-fat approved by the city of Chelsea, Mass., July 15. However, restaurants can apply for an exemption to the ban.

Many trans-fat bans allow for trace amounts of artificial trans-fat in foods, but the Chelsea ban will prohibit trans fats completely, according to the association. Violators are subject to a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $300 for any additional offenses within any single, one-year period. The ban takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Dr. Joy Dubost, Ph.D, RD and the association's director of nutrition policy, testified before the Chelsea Board of Health in February. She said it would be "virtually impossible" to eliminate all trans-fat from restaurant foods, and the ban unfairly targets restaurants.

"The association’s research shows that the average American consumes meals or snacks prepared away from home about five times per week which means that about 76 percent of meals are still prepared at home," Dubost said. "This regulation on trans-fat does not impact packaged goods sold in grocery or convenience stores, which is the biggest source of meals and snacks.

"Thus the ban unfairly targets restaurant and foodservice establishment since the largest contributor of meals and overall nutrition is not being held to the same standard."

Federal regulations state that a product is declared as having zero trans-fat if it contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.