The Post reports:
The fines ranged from $200 to $2,000, and all the restaurant owners are entitled to challenge the summonses at hearings.In other words, it's now illegal to possess unlabeled containers of oil. So much for those exotic, high-end olive oils retailed in ornate bottles -- too much work for the food cops to determine whether the law is being broken.
Nearly all of the ticketed eateries were cited for using trans-fat-laden margarine.
Only one, Ballato on East Houston Street, which has hosted the likes of Sophia Loren, Roberto Benigni and Daniel Day-Lewis, was cited for using oils that lacked proper labels about the trans-fat content.
Owner Emilio Vitolo said he'll fight the summons because the oil in question was peanut oil -- one that doesn't contain the offending fats. He insisted that he never uses trans fats in preparing his meals.
Workers at nearly every restaurant contacted by The Post said the infractions were for stray containers of spreads or oils that hadn't been tossed out -- and they insisted their cooking is trans-fat-free.
"I didn't know [the new rules] applied to bakeries as of yet," said Rajandra Mahase, owner of Little Guyana Bake Shop in Queens.
That's also news to the Health Department -- from a recent press release: "This first phase of the regulation applies to oils, shortening and margarines used for frying and as spreads. It does not apply to baked goods or prepared foods, or to oils used to deep-fry dough or cake batter. Those products are covered by the second phase of the initiative, which takes effect on July 1, 2008."
And all this while the science behind the ban is dubious at best.