Albany County bakers to warn legislators of 'trans-trouble'

More than a baker's dozen of bakery owners showed up to this month's Albany County Legislature meeting Monday, May 11, to express concerns about a ban on trans fats from restaurants and bakeries that is scheduled to take effect on July 1.

Trans fats have been criticized for containing high levels of LDL, also known as bad cholesterol and also lowering HDL, known as the "good cholesterol." It has also been blamed as a factor in the rise of obesity in America.

In August, the County Legislature passed the law, introduced by Majority Leader Frank Commisso, D-Albany, to ban trans fats in the county in two phases. The first phase involved taking trans fats out of oils, shortening and margarine used in cooking beginning Jan. 1. The second phase, scheduled to take effect July 1, involves eliminating trans fats from all baked goods.

Now, Minority Leader Christine Benedict, R-Colonie, has introduced a resolution that would amend Commisso's law, excluding bakeries from the trans fat ban. This resolution was the topic of a public hearing session at Monday's meeting. Benedict said she hopes to have her amendment passed before the ban takes effect July 1.

In preparation for the ban, Rachel Dott, owner of Coccadotts bake shop, located at 1179 Central Ave., said she has been experimenting for more than five months with alternatives to trans fats, and her products do not come out the same. She said that ultimately, if not amended, the ban will cause her to lose business.

"It's just frustrating to know that a few people control my destiny," Dott said before the legislature meeting.

She said she would have to compete with grocery stores that sell products with trans fats, as well as compete with bakeries in other counties that do not have trans fats bans.

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