Bakeries exemption from trans fat ban rejected by Albany County Legislature

Mainella asked the legislature to exempt the bakeries in the county from the ban "until there is a suitable replacement" for trans fat, at which point Commisso stood and told Mainella that the legislature would be granting the bakeries a six-month extension for the ban to take effect, with the possibility of even another six month extension to follow, so that the bakers would have enough time to find this suitable replacement.

But Commisso stressed that his ban law is not intended to hurt the bakeries in the county, but that it is meant to help people remain healthy.

"We're talking about a health hazard that starts at toddlers," he said. Commisso said he has visited many bakeries in New York City that have already conformed to trans fat-free baking and has found a list of over 60 different shortenings that work and do not contain trans fat. He said he can provide that list to the bakers so that they can try the different shortenings and during the six-month extension, find something that works.

Still, Mainella, and other bakers, were pessimistic.

"Six months-it's not going to work. Six months after that-I don't know if that's going to work," said Dott.

Dott said even tweaking the bill might not help the situation, and that bakers need to be able to use shortening that simply will not hold up as well without trans fat.

She urged the legislature to not only think of the baked goods, but to think about the small business owner and the damage this law could have on them.

"If this were you, and you were worried about your business, I would do it for you," she said.

Products with trans fats will still be allowed to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores throughout the county, causing an extremely unfair competition, Dott said, between county bakeries and grocery stores.

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