The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a ban on partially
hydrogenated oils in restaurants, supermarket bakeries and delis
yesterday, becoming the first county in the nation to restrict
artery-clogging trans fats.
Montgomery’s measure follows similar legislation in New York and Philadelphia,
which ordered trans fats removed from restaurant menus this year and
next. The county’s new health regulation will take effect in January
for restaurants and other establishments serving food and in January
2009 for establishments offering baked goods, other than packaged goods
made outside the county.
Sara Lee cakes, for example, will be exempt. Dunkin’ Donuts,
which bakes doughnuts in its stores daily, will have to comply. The
annual church supper, which fits the county’s definition of a food
service establishment, would have to stop using trans fatty oils unless
organizers get a waiver from the county health department. Foods with
0.5 grams of trans fat per serving are allowed.
My favorite part of the article:
Council member Duchy Trachtenberg (D-At Large), the bill’s chief
sponsor, said she thinks the food industry will be able to adjust. Some
Montgomery establishments, such as the Silver Diner and Marriott Corp., stopped using trans fats voluntarily.
"The goal is to protect the public health," she said. "People want to know what they are eating."
I wish it were a quote. She thinks the food industry will be able to adjust. Great! It should work out. Probably. Besides, people want to know what they’re eating so we’ll prevent them from eating something as a way to let them know what they’re eating.
There is nothing in the article that discusses the costs of the ban in either reduced freedom or higher food costs that will be passed on to consumers. There is nothing in the article about the impossibility of enforcing the regulation. There is one negative paragraph in the entire article, a hint of the possibility of unintended consequences:
Restaurateurs say that it could be difficult for them to find healthy
replacements for trans fatty oils and that they might have to use
artery-clogging palm and coconut oils or butter.