Transfat tyranny

Lee DeCovnick
Camels are relentlessly stupid creatures, great for desert travel, beastly if they manage to stick their noses into your tent. So too are the bureaucratic camels that tell us they are coming to help. Hide your wallets and hold on to your tent poles.

April 7, 2007. The WBALTV website headline announced, "City Urges Restaurants To Go Trans Fat Free."

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore city officials are considering making restaurants trans fat free. City officials said they want all restaurants to join the health craze.

"Trans fats are like other kinds of fats, except they're just a little different chemically. That difference can change cholesterol levels," said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein. Sharfstein said he would be sending out a letter to all of the city's restaurants in the next few days asking them to minimize the amount of trans fats they use.

"Asking them." being the operative term, but not for long, as government bureaucrats have a nasty habit of moving forward from just asking to invoking new laws to justify their bloated staff budgets.

WBAL TV 11 News reporter Rob Roblin tried several trans fat-free dishes and said they all tasted great. Many customers agreed.

Such insightful journalism, Mr. Roblin, we're sure a local Emmy is in your future.

January 22, 2008. The WBALTV website headline informs us that, "Maryland Considers Trans Fat Study."

ANNAPOLIS -- A state lawmaker who wants Maryland to become the first state in the nation to ban trans-fats in restaurants has proposed a panel to study the idea for one year.

A lobbyist for grocer Safeway Inc., which sells some prepared foods, said he didn't oppose the study panel. But Bruce Bereano urged lawmakers to make sure the panel wasn't "tipped toward the anti-trans-fat folks." "I know there are folks in society who like to lead others' lives, but there are people who want to eat what they want to eat," Bereano said.
September 18, 2009. The Baltimore Health Department website headline proclaims, "Baltimore City Health Department Announces Start of Trans Fat Prohibition For Food Facilities." 

BALTIMORE -- Beginning Sunday, September 20, 2009, all City food establishments will be prohibited from serving and selling foods, which are not prepackaged, that contain 0.5 grams or greater of trans fat.

Since the law was passed, the Baltimore City Health Department has encouraged local bakers to consider alternative recipes that are equally delicious but trans-fat free.
Snort!  These bureaucrats really think we are stupid.

Environmental Health sanitarians have reached out to local bakeries in an effort to learn how they will transition and have provided them with resources to alternatives - trans fat-free ingredients. Moderate and high priority food service facilities found to be using vegetable shortening, margarine or any kind of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or ingredients containing such will receive a violation. Repeat offenders could face closure.

So if the Baltimore Health Department finds that your restaurant catered a Tea Party event and used prepackaged food with more .5 grams of trans fat, your business could be toast?  Or perhaps a Baltimore Environmental Health Sanitarian (Orwell would love that title) might suggest that, for a modest donation to the Mayor's re- election campaign, the illegal use of trans fats might just be overlooked. Some readers may say that could never happen, most realists will say it's only a matter of time. Bottom line, it is one hell of a bureaucratic stick for such a minor infraction.

October 25, 2010. The WBALTV website headline warns, "Baltimore Hands Out First Trans Fat Citation."

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore City Health Department issued its first environmental citation for repeat violations of the city's trans fat ban.

The Health Department issued Healthy Choice, a food facility in the 400 block of Lexington Street, a $100 fine on Thursday. The Health Department said more than 100 Baltimore restaurants have received warnings since the ban went into effect.

Oh my, environmental citation for repeat violations... why someone should slap this public enemy into the hoosegow and throw away the key!

Agents said that if restaurants don't make changes after a citation is issue, the establishment could be shut down. "It was the second time they were found with a high trans fat level in their ingredients," said Health Department agent Juan Gutierrez.

"They originally had a margarine that was above 3 grams, actually, which is very high compared to the .5 that is allowed. Then when we came back and they had replaced it, they replaced it with one that was 2 grams, so it still was too high," Gutierrez said. The facility discarded the products in both instances, health officials said.

"Healthy Choice owner Ki Jeong said he will abide by the decision but [also] said the new margarine will cost him double what the original type costs.

No doubt Mr. Jeong will simply absorb the higher costs and not pass them on to his customers in the form of higher prices or smaller portions.

Restaurants nationwide may soon be required to scan the biometric information on your "mandatory carry" national health care card. Only then can you be served a delicious age appropriate, caloric appropriate, protein appropriate, sugar appropriate, and gluten appropriate dinner as specified by federal regulation.

Some readers may say that could never happen, most realists will say it's only a matter of time.
Camels are relentlessly stupid creatures, great for desert travel, beastly if they manage to stick their noses into your tent. So too are the bureaucratic camels that tell us they are coming to help. Hide your wallets and hold on to your tent poles.

April 7, 2007. The WBALTV website headline announced, "City Urges Restaurants To Go Trans Fat Free."

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore city officials are considering making restaurants trans fat free. City officials said they want all restaurants to join the health craze.

"Trans fats are like other kinds of fats, except they're just a little different chemically. That difference can change cholesterol levels," said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein. Sharfstein said he would be sending out a letter to all of the city's restaurants in the next few days asking them to minimize the amount of trans fats they use.

"Asking them." being the operative term, but not for long, as government bureaucrats have a nasty habit of moving forward from just asking to invoking new laws to justify their bloated staff budgets.

WBAL TV 11 News reporter Rob Roblin tried several trans fat-free dishes and said they all tasted great. Many customers agreed.

Such insightful journalism, Mr. Roblin, we're sure a local Emmy is in your future.

January 22, 2008. The WBALTV website headline informs us that, "Maryland Considers Trans Fat Study."

ANNAPOLIS -- A state lawmaker who wants Maryland to become the first state in the nation to ban trans-fats in restaurants has proposed a panel to study the idea for one year.

A lobbyist for grocer Safeway Inc., which sells some prepared foods, said he didn't oppose the study panel. But Bruce Bereano urged lawmakers to make sure the panel wasn't "tipped toward the anti-trans-fat folks." "I know there are folks in society who like to lead others' lives, but there are people who want to eat what they want to eat," Bereano said.
September 18, 2009. The Baltimore Health Department website headline proclaims, "Baltimore City Health Department Announces Start of Trans Fat Prohibition For Food Facilities." 

BALTIMORE -- Beginning Sunday, September 20, 2009, all City food establishments will be prohibited from serving and selling foods, which are not prepackaged, that contain 0.5 grams or greater of trans fat.

Since the law was passed, the Baltimore City Health Department has encouraged local bakers to consider alternative recipes that are equally delicious but trans-fat free.
Snort!  These bureaucrats really think we are stupid.

Environmental Health sanitarians have reached out to local bakeries in an effort to learn how they will transition and have provided them with resources to alternatives - trans fat-free ingredients. Moderate and high priority food service facilities found to be using vegetable shortening, margarine or any kind of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or ingredients containing such will receive a violation. Repeat offenders could face closure.

So if the Baltimore Health Department finds that your restaurant catered a Tea Party event and used prepackaged food with more .5 grams of trans fat, your business could be toast?  Or perhaps a Baltimore Environmental Health Sanitarian (Orwell would love that title) might suggest that, for a modest donation to the Mayor's re- election campaign, the illegal use of trans fats might just be overlooked. Some readers may say that could never happen, most realists will say it's only a matter of time. Bottom line, it is one hell of a bureaucratic stick for such a minor infraction.

October 25, 2010. The WBALTV website headline warns, "Baltimore Hands Out First Trans Fat Citation."

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore City Health Department issued its first environmental citation for repeat violations of the city's trans fat ban.

The Health Department issued Healthy Choice, a food facility in the 400 block of Lexington Street, a $100 fine on Thursday. The Health Department said more than 100 Baltimore restaurants have received warnings since the ban went into effect.

Oh my, environmental citation for repeat violations... why someone should slap this public enemy into the hoosegow and throw away the key!

Agents said that if restaurants don't make changes after a citation is issue, the establishment could be shut down. "It was the second time they were found with a high trans fat level in their ingredients," said Health Department agent Juan Gutierrez.

"They originally had a margarine that was above 3 grams, actually, which is very high compared to the .5 that is allowed. Then when we came back and they had replaced it, they replaced it with one that was 2 grams, so it still was too high," Gutierrez said. The facility discarded the products in both instances, health officials said.

"Healthy Choice owner Ki Jeong said he will abide by the decision but [also] said the new margarine will cost him double what the original type costs.

No doubt Mr. Jeong will simply absorb the higher costs and not pass them on to his customers in the form of higher prices or smaller portions.

Restaurants nationwide may soon be required to scan the biometric information on your "mandatory carry" national health care card. Only then can you be served a delicious age appropriate, caloric appropriate, protein appropriate, sugar appropriate, and gluten appropriate dinner as specified by federal regulation.

Some readers may say that could never happen, most realists will say it's only a matter of time.