For years doctors have warned about the dangers of trans fats, an ingredient in many foods and baked goods. Now New York City is trying to do something about them. After 21 years satisfying New York's sweet tooth, Madge Rosenberg thinks she knows the secret to a great pie.
"We've always used solid vegetable shortening in pie crust because of the flakiness it gives," says Madge. That shortening, used only in her pies, is a "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil." Essentially liquid oil made solid by a chemical process.
It's more spreadable, enhances flavor, but it contains trans-fat. Like many baked goods, fried foods and snacks.
Trans-fat is perhaps america's most notorious fat. It's linked directly to heart disease, because trans-fat lowers good cholesterol, while raising bad cholesterol.
"We know they're risky, We know its possible to replace them," says Thomas Frieden.
New York's Health Commissioner, Thomas Frieden, who pushed to ban smoking in public places, now has declared trans-fats a public health threat.
His letter to the city's 35 thousand restaurants, grocery stores and food suppliers, urges them to make an oil change and get the trans-fat out.
"There are plenty of healthy great tasting alternatives, olive oil, conola oil," says Frieden.
Nationally, the FDA recently advised consumers to cut back on trans-fats and starting next year, food packaging must list it.
For most restaurants, considering whether to switch, the biggest issue may be flavor.
Alan Rosen at Junior's Diner wants to make sure it still has flavor.Rosen says, consistency has kept his family's business open for 50 years. He doesn't like too many cooks in the kitchen.
But one day a supplier suggested using soy-bean oil, it's trans-fat free.
"So we had to taste it and test it and we fried different food and we ate a lot of food, and you know what? We really couldn't taste the difference," says Rosen.
Now, Juniors serves just about everything without trans fat. Though it's still not sure what to do about those layer cakes.
Across town, Madge Rosenberg, caters to a wide range of tastes.
"The customers really determine what we make because if they don't want to buy it, we're not going to make it," states Ms. Rosenberg.