Royal Caribbean to Ban Trans Fats

Miami -- Royal Caribbean International plans to ban artificial trans fats from its food, the first major cruise line to join a growing movement in the hospitality industry against the unhealthy cooking ingredient.

Royal Caribbean, which operates 20 ships in the Americas and Europe, said it began replacing its frying oil with trans fat-free oil around the beginning of the year. The company said it will begin removing other foods containing trans fats from its menus in March and expects to remove all such food by year's end.

"We've seen a shift in the lifestyle choices of Royal Caribbean guests; our guests are more active, health-conscious cruisers," said Michael Bayley, the company's senior vice president of guest satisfaction. "Making this investment to upgrade to a healthier option in terms of food preparation is yet another way we can connect with our guests to ensure the best overall cruise experience."

Last month, New York City enacted a measure to ban nearly all trans fats at the city's restaurants, the first major U.S. city to do so; Loews Hotels banned trans fats at its 18 luxury properties as of June 1; and JetBlue began offering trans fat-free snacks on all its flights.

In addition, Starbucks began the year by announcing that it is cutting trans fats from baked goods sold at about half its coffee shops in the United States. The company said it will eventually eliminate trans fats at all its U.S. stores.

The Walt Disney Company and Universal Parks & Resorts also have announced plans to cut trans fats at their theme parks and related properties in the United States.

Trans fats raise the level of unhealthy cholesterol in the human body, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease. The fats are found in hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is used for frying and in a wide variety of processed foods.

For more news on recent developments that could affect your plans, get MeetingNews' weekly e-newsletter to your inbox.