Small bakeries might avoid fats ban

May 05, 2008|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun Reporter

Mom-and-pop bakeries would be exempted from Baltimore's recently enacted ban on trans fats under legislation to be introduced in the City Council today.

City Councilman James B. Kraft's legislation would exempt bakers who have no more than three retail locations. The legislation is similar to an exemption approved by Philadelphia to its trans fat ban last year.

"It's to deal with the mom-and-pop bakeries, of which there are few left in the city," Kraft said. "They have recipes that they've used for generations."

Trans fat first appeared in the United States in 1911, and many baking recipes call for shortening that contains trans fat.

One of the city's small bakeries, Hoehn's Bakery in East Baltimore, is in Kraft's district. The councilman said the business was a chief reason why he is introducing the legislation.

Another major baker in Kraft's district, H&S Bakery, did not play a role in the legislation, he said.

City Councilwoman Agnes Welch, the lead proponent of the trans fat ban this year, said she will wait to decide whether to support the exemption until after the bill receives a committee hearing.

"I want to be business-friendly with the small bakers, but I want to hear what they have to say and what the medical people have to say," Welch said. "We'll see at the hearing, and then I'll make my decision."

The vote to ban trans fats - which are common in margarine, shortening and deep-fried foods - was cheered by supporters who say the oils can clog arteries, cause heart disease and expand waistlines.

The City Council approved the ban in March on a unanimous vote and with little opposition.

Philadelphia, New York City, Montgomery County and Boston all have approved similar bans. In Baltimore, any prepared food containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is prohibited by the ordinance.

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