Phila. Inquirer Finds Just One Critic of Trans Fat Ban

The City of Brotherly Love could soon become the second major U.S. city to ban trans fats from its eateries, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported today. The new law passed the city council unanimously and awaits Mayor John Street's signature.

So you'd think in a city like Philly you'd have plenty of people who would find such a ban ridiculous, and would not be shy about telling some reporters the same. That may well be the case, but in today's paper, the Inquirer's Patrick Kerkstra and Julie Stoiber only gave readers one critic of the ban, an official at the American Academy of Chefs. In fact:

...nowhere in the story were business owners found who complained about the latest roll of red tape the city is slapping on dining establishments.

Kerkstra and Stoiber mentioned in passing that trans fat free oils, such as peanut oil, are more expensive. But even then they insisted the cost was not a big deal for restaurateurs.

“At Scarduzio's Brasserie [Perrier], they would find peanut oil instead of the partially hydrogenated oil he used to use. It costs about $15,000 more a year, Scarduzio estimated, but is worth it because consumers want it,” they reported. For comparison, that $2,000 more than a minimum wage employee makes in Pennsylvania in an entire year.

Chef and owner Chris Scarduzio’s Brasserie Perrier already made the shift to the more expensive oil “six months ago,” the reporters noted. What’s more, Scarduzio’s is a high-end restaurant serving entrees such as “House Smoked Salmon Lemon Crème Fraiche” and “Seared Potato and Goat Cheese Terrine.” Diners there are unlikely to curtail outings there on account of slightly more expensive dishes.

For my full story at the MRC's Web site, click here.

UPDATE (2/9/2007, 13:32 EST): Philadelphia Will Do, the blog for the "alternative" Philadelphia Weekly paper, offered some qualified praise for the decision in a February 8 post:

Today, City Council approved to continue to regulate what we Philadelphians can put into our bodies. However, this ban had unanimous support, so it's not much like the smoking ban.

Actually, this one's good for you, too, and in a way that doesn't force you to stand outside in 15 degree weather. The trans fat ban is finally official, it goes into effect Sept. 1, blah blah blah. You know the deal, and it won't make your fries taste any less disgusting, really. But, hey, it's healthier.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters