Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nanny Staters Putting Bakeries Out of Business In New York

The move to drive transfat out of foods and baked goods is well-intentioned according to nanny staters, but the effect is to kill businesses. Bakeries, who have to comply with the transfat ban enacted for Albany County New York restaurants and bakeries are finding it impossible to comply without compromising taste and texture.
Restaurants changed the products used in cooking, especially french fries and other fried foods, and so far there have been no complaints from them. Bakers, however, tell a different story.

Nina Crisafulli, who owns Sweet Temptations with her sister, Salina, said the issue for them was their lemon cupcakes. She has been in contact with the Health Department's Division of Environmental Health Services, which was to conduct the hearing, and she explained that the filling she uses amounts to less than 0.5 percent, about a teaspoon, which is allowed, noting, "When it's broken down for individual cupcakes, everything meets their criteria."

"Basically, there's no way to beat this," Crisafulli said. She predicted that one day it could go statewide.

"A bakery is something you go to every once in a while," she said. "It's a treat. Customers don't come in every single day. They are making laws that I don't think we really need."

The letter from the county said if the business owner didn't want to appear at the hearing and defend themselves, they could send in a check for $750, thereby admitting they were not in compliance. Fines could run as high as $3,000.

Cocca Dott said her butter cream frosting on cakes, especially wedding cakes, falls apart without a small amount of trans fat shortening that acts as the glue, or the stabilizer. Marble cake batter also falls apart with the chocolate separating from the rest of the batter, she said.

She tried using a shortening free of trans fat or using just under 0.5 percent, "but it all backfired on me," she said. The hot weather makes it even worse, she said.

"I have three choices," Cocca Dott said. "One, I could comply, or two, I can move out of Albany County, or three, I could seek counsel."

"I don't know how they can pass a law in Albany County, and it not be for everyone," she said. Price Chopper and other chains are under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and don't have to comply.

Mainella said he can't make Italian cookies, his big seller, without trans fat.
Not only is this harming small businesses, but it makes little sense. The quantities of transfats involved is miniscule and yet its effect as a binder and stabilizer are significant in baked goods and frostings.

Yet, that wont stop the nanny staters from demanding compliance or else face serious fines. These businesses will either face substantial fines (which affect the bottom line and are an added cost), sue to avoid the fines (another added cost), or close up and move to another location to avoid the transfat ban.

How exactly does this make economic sense? How does this make sense health-wise?

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