Pastries and other foods sold at half of Starbucks U.S. outlets will be free of artery-clogging trans fats starting this week, a spokesman for the coffee shop chain said Tuesday.
The move makes Starbucks the latest in a string of U.S. restaurant chains to remove trans fats from its menu. Spokesman Brandon Borrman said the foods at all of its U.S. stores would be free of trans fats by later this year.
"The plan is that we will complete this this year," Borrman said, adding that Starbucks has been working on cutting trans fats from its products for about two years.
Beginning Wednesday, everything from muffins to sandwiches at Starbucks outlets in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. will be free of trans fats, Borrman said.
Trans fats are made synthetically when food processors harden fat to make it more like butter in a process called hydrogenisation that is used to extend shelf life and enhance the texture of some foods.
Trans fats also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke by boosting levels of so-called "bad" cholesterol, known as LDL, and reducing levels of "good," or HDL, cholesterol.
Several chains, including Wendy's International, Yum Brands units Taco Bell and KFC, and Panera Bread have either already made the switch to healthier oils or have set a timeline for the change.
Last month, New York City banned most artificial trans fats from restaurants.