Monday, December 11, 2006

and we thought we had it bad with the cigarette and smoking legislation

In City’s Trans Fat Ban, a Challenge Fit for a Chef - New York Times: Here's something more oppressive than our recent smoking legislation. It's a small wonder they didn't try taxing transfats, too. Everywhere, it seems, government is extending its reach too far using the mantra of "the public good." Transfats and smoke might be bad, but a government drunk with power and running amok is worse. Read the whole article to find where you stand on the issue. Ponder what's next to be banned, restricted, or taxed.

"The rules adopted by the city’s Board of Health are to be phased in. Restaurants will have to eliminate margarines and shortenings that contain more than a trace of trans fats by July 1, and to remove all items from their menus that exceed a limit of a half-gram of trans fat per serving by July 1, 2008. Violators will face fines of at least $200.
The measure has widely been applauded by health advocates, who point to an established link between artificial trans fats and heart disease. But many in the restaurant industry say they fear that they will not be able to replicate dishes that now exceed the limit on trans fats.
Trans fats, derived from partially hydrogenated oils, have been used since Crisco was introduced in 1911. By the 1950s, trans fats were used as an alternative to the saturated fats in butter and in some processed foods, but they became a staple of the American diet with the rise of fast food in the ’70s.
They allow fast-food and other restaurants to use frying oil for longer periods. Some bakeries and restaurants that serve pastries, doughnuts or pies face particular challenges because trans fat shortenings have long been used to maintain a certain texture and appearance. They make pie crusts flaky, cookies crunchy and frosting creamy.
In many cases, trans fats also give baked goods a longer shelf life than those prepared with butter or trans fat-free cooking oils.
There are plenty of alternatives, including margarines, shortenings and even a variety of Crisco made without them. The challenge is finding the right one, say those in the restaurant industry.
“The problem with this law, we’re not scientists,” said Joe Bianchi, the owner of Pozzo Pastry Shop..."

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