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FDA to Ban Trans-Fats, Following Albany County Lead

If you've been to a grocery store or a restaurant lately, you know that the owners have started to see the writing on the wall.  Trans-fats and the partially hydrogenated oils they come from are bad, and fewer of them have been going into the food supply.  But it's still too many, according to the FDA, which cites an Institute of Medicine report that concluded ''there is no safe level of consumption of artificial trans-fat".  For that reason, the FDA wants to all but eliminate them.

If you're concerned about your health, and you're looking at that, it's good, says Marcia Lenehan, the Director of Environmental Health for Albany county.

In 2007, Albany county approved its own trans-fat ban.  It applied to restaurants and bakeries.

The restaurants were exceptionally cooperative, says Lenehan.  Even the ones who had a difficult time.

It was a tough struggle in the beginning, says Rachel Cocca-Dot of Cocca Dots Bakery.

She had a huge task ahead of her in order to comply.  Trans-fats are a common ingredient in baked goods and eliminating just one thing can change the entire product.

It took us about 2 years to get everything switched over, Cocca-Dot says. I think as a whole people are really just trying to be more health conscious and watch what they put into their bodies.

Today, Cocca Dots, even its non-Albany county locations, is a trans-fat free operation.  It wasn't easy though, and Rachel expects the same for all those major food manufacturers who fill store shelves with trans-fats.  She recalls her fight with the county about whether it was the governments right to regulate what people can eat.

Lenehan says there's history to such actions, especially when something is no longer considered safe.

When I was a kid everything had trans fats in it, everything had lead in it.  The houses were full of lead.

Once we find out something, its hard for us to ignore it.