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Mar 7, 2007 09:50 PM

Watch out, Boston...[moved from Boston Board]

I have to post because I am beyond disturbed. In today's NYTimes food section, one article states that some bakers are having to learn to cook without butter....because some trace trans-fats are found in butter. Bakers having to give up butter...imagine!

It's bad enough that it's happening in NYC. I'm worried that Boston will follow suit.

To top it off, also included in this week's NYT food section is an article about Coca-Cola releasing a new "healthy Coke" replete with added vitamins and minerals.

Butter Bad?
Coke Good?
Have we lost our minds...and all sense of perspective?

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  1. It's about being able to promote "0% Transfats" vs. "0% Artificially-created Transfats".

    For instance, SBUX has mandated 0% Transfats. As there is a trace amount in butter, SBUX told its bakers, "no butter." They believe the public won't understand the nuance between the naturally-occuring trace amounts of Transfats in butter and the massive amounts created during hydrogenation.

    Stupid, yes. But hey, that's marketing. And a significant percentage of the population thinks this is a good thing because they think our government knows more about food than our chefs do. So legislatures are allowed to run amok despite being flat out ignorant when it comes to nutrition.

    This is going to be more a chain thing than an indie thing. NYC is not banning trace amounts of transfats - you'll be able to find butter.

    But, once SBUX starts rolling out those "0%" signs, watch how many people flock there for icky tasting pastries while allowing their talented local bakers to flounder, the result being more of the same.

    This general level of "ignorance is bliss" is how we end up with atrocities like a dozen new embarrassing reality TV shows every year, Anna Nicole 24/7 on news channels, even more unnecessary (and worse) chain pizza outlets and 24oz half caf 1% snickerdoodle lattes served at 174F (e.g. flavored scalded milk).

    Whatever your political views, pretty soon we'll all have to move to Europe to eat well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Panini Guy

      Yet ANOTHER reason not to patronize Barsucks.

    2. Baking without butter would be like breathing without air.

      1. the ny times article quoted someone as saying he didn't think customers would even notice the difference. which is sadly likely true. it also states that milk has trace amounts of naturally occurring trans fat. so will they stop using milk in their lattes and cappucinos?

        much of the pastry is being cooked now with palm oil, which is REALLY bad for you, or trans-fat-free margarine, which sounds terrifying.

        more evidence of the government acting as a food nanny.

        1. How much is this "trace amount"? Isn't anything under a certain amount allowed to be called "0%"?

          1 Reply
          1. re: pamalamb

            if it's half a gram per serving or less. but starbucks is going for absolute zero, even though these are naturally-occurring trans fats in natural foods. already they seem to have forgotten all the studies proving margarine is much less healthy than butter. it's a ridiculous merry-go-round.

          2. Hold on now - with all this talk about how government is going overboard with the transfat issue, I think there is plenty of blame to share here as if businesses (yes the blame rests almost entirely with large chains) were more ethical about their ingredients, we would not need so much policing from the gov.

            I am interested to know how people think this should be handled. I mean, if most restaurants put arsenic in their meals, you would at least want to KNOW about it, wouldn't you? How would you go about making sure people are at least allowed the opportunity to know what bad stuff is in their meal so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to eat it?

            5 Replies
            1. re: lisa13

              I do know about the health risks, so do most people in my circle of acquaintances. Which is why we generally avoid chains.

              IMO, missing the picture on this is sort of like being ignorant of STDs. It's really hard to not be aware of the health risks. Far as I know, the government hasn't mandated condoms yet.

              The government is not a replacement for common sense. I don't need a label to tell me not to stick my hand in the lawnmower when it's on. I don't need a label to tell me Oreos and Krispy Kremes are bad. And I resent my tax dollars being spent on programs to inform those too lazy to do their own research.

              Maybe if the govt gave a tradeoff allowing proper Euro cheeses and salumeri into the country without the ridiculous restrictions, that would tell me they have some grasp of food.

              1. re: Panini Guy

                Perhaps a price floor on what they consider "dangerous" would be a reasonable compromise. Like you could sell whatever cheese you want, roquefort or velveeta, so long as it was priced above $5 a pound or something, no one would pay that for velveeta. It would protect the dummies from cheap bastards in the mass food industry and let us have our little epicurian soma.

              2. re: lisa13

                arsenic is poison. there is nothing inherently unsafe about butter.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  right, but noone has banned butter. I supposed I should have been clear to say that people are complaining about a government ban which was against artificial transfats, not natural ones.

                  Starbucks nixed butter as a marketing ploy, so they could claim 100% transfat free for their baked goods. Methinks this is an overreaction, and while they may point to the NYC ban as inspiration, that ban in no way mandated eliminating butter as a food ingredient.

                  The leap from "starbucks won't use butter so we should be mad about NYC banning artificial transfats" is what escapes me.

                  I completely relate to Panini Guy's points, but the fact is, it sometimes takes government intervention, massive education campaigns, etc to get the average person to wake up. Look at the history of smoking in this country for a perfect example. Panini guy, and most of the poeple on this board, aren't average when it comes to their knowledge of food ingredients. To say that everyone should be so smart is just...unrealistic, I think.