Saturday, July 26, 2008

Will the trans-fat ban hurt ethnic restaurants?

Small restaurants have already been hit hard by the rising price of food. The days of great under-$5 lunches at tiny hole-in-the-walls are fast disappearing, with taco trucks and the food stands of Grand Central Market practically the only real bargains left. Although the trans-fat ban seems to be a good health move, I still fear for the struggling small restaurants. The L.A. Times article Schwarzenegger signs law banning trans fats in restaurants addresses this dilemma.
A local business owner vented his frustration in the story:
Rod White, the owner of Bertha's Soul Food in Los Angeles, estimated that it would cost him $30 more a week to buy cooking oil without trans fat, and he was angry.
"The government is infringing too much on the rights of people to even eat what they want," he said. "Are they going to outlaw salt next because it causes hypertension?"
This will certainly affect restaurants serving French fries and several varieties of baked goods, as well as diners using hydrogenated oils for frying up foods on the griddle. Ultimately we'll be better off without them, but we will certainly pay the price for higher-priced oils without transfats. At least tacos shouldn't be affected. What do you think? Are we getting too close to the nanny state, or will our arteries eventually thank us?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Humankind managed to cook and eat just fine for centuries before transfats were even invented. I'm not too worried. In fact, I'd gladly spend a few bucks more on a meal, knowing it's free of frankenfoods, than save a buck here or there and eat something that never should have existed in the first place.

Ellen Bloom said...

I think people should monitor their own diets, not Big Brother. It would be beneficial, instead of out-lawing transfats, if restaurant owners were required to post the fact that transfats are used in the preparation of certain foods. Then, people could decide for themselves if they want to imbibe.

Michael said...

What is next? Table salt? Sugar? These ingredients can lead to harmful diseases.

We have Global warming, second hand smoke, and trans fats. All phony science behind the claims. Remember sacchrine. Well, it turned out that it never caused cancer.

Anonymous said...

does this mean our food is going to be even more expensive?

Anonymous said...

Big Brother!!? These are elected officials. The difference between trans-fats and sugar and salt is that it's practically invisible. Sugar and salt you can easily self regulate, but why would anyone choose to eat trans-fats? They don't taste better, they're obviously not healthier. Why should the business owners be allowed to cut costs at our expense? Why are business owners in this country allowed to get away with so much in defense of profits?

teenage glutster said...

although hard to admit, I will say off with the solid, in with the liquid.

...man can not be trusted.

Aaron said...

Maybe I missed it, but how does this specifically hurt ethnic restaurants? I understand that those hurting the most would likely be deep-fryer.

Doran said...

First, salt and sugar are natural ingredients which have been used for millennia. Trans-fats are artificial and have only been around for just over a century.

Many popular items (saccharine, various dyes) from the last century have been banned. The ban has always resulted in some folks complaining about how it limits consumer choice and hurt business. This is just the latest example.

That all said, I tend to agree with Ms. Bloom. I'd prefer the law require prominent display of whether a restaurant uses trans-fat. And then we can decide for ourselves.

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