Illinois Moves to Ban Trans Fats. Except in Bakeries.

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Without trans fat, this cake's a pile of goop.

Illinois' the second state in the union to move towards making trans fat illegal.

California did it in 2008, and if the Trans Fat Restriction Act (HB 1600) passes, artificial trans fats will be banned in Illinois restaurants, movie theaters, bakeries and school vending machines by January, 2013. Government-funded cafeterias will have to get rid of trans fats by 2016.

But let's get back to to those bakeries. Yesterday Gatehouse News Service reported that Senate Public Health Committee on Tuesday changed the bill to exempt some cakes and pastries from the ban.

Turns out that the icing relies on trans fat to keep from melting off the fancy cakes. That buttercream? If it was made with real butter, it would be a puddle before the happy couple exchanges wedding vows. Icing needs shortening, which stays solid in heat, to stay pretty.

"On a day like today, when it's 92 degrees, if you aren't using trans fats (in icing), your wedding cake is not getting to the hall. It will melt," Chicago bakery owner John Roeser III told Gatehouse News Service.

Roeser says he'll abide by the ban if the law passes. He shouldn't have much trouble. Food service companies have already jumped on the anti-trans fat bandwagon, developing professional-grade trans fat-free shortenings made for fancy cakes. Even cake decorating leader Wilton has reformulated their buttercream icing recipe to accommodate the new shortenings.

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Lawmakers are considering bills they hope will make Illinois residents healthier by encouraging them to cut down on beverages with added sugar and banning foods containingtrans fat. “Young people like sweet things,” ... John Roeser, vice president of the Chicago Retail Bakers Association and independent owner of Roeser's Bakery in Chicago, said that without the the exclusion of baked goods in the bill, many retail bakers would have closed their doors.


I own a bakery and we are trans fat free and have been for over 12 years. We only use butter, not reformulated products. A lot of places are now using palm oil, which is endangering animals due to leveling rainforests to produce palm oil. Palm oil is also bad for your heart. Bakeries do not want to use butter for a number of reasons, one being the cost and by using transfats you get a longer shelf life on your products like breads and danish. In regards to real buttercream (which I don't get how they call that icing buttercream) on wedding cake, we keep all of our cakes refrigerated until we deliver one hour before the reception time. This means you have to have dedicated space to store them, which is another expense. Running a bakery that only uses butter has many more reasons that make it a more costly operation. Saying it is about a melting cake is a cop out.

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