Policy

Greasy Baltimore Carry-Out With Ironic Name First to Be Fined for Using Wrong Kind of Fat

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A Korean-run carry-out in Baltimore's Lexington Market received the dubious honor of being the first dining establishment to be fined by the city for the trans-fat content in its food. The food stand got 40 lashes with a wet noodle and a $100 fine after failing to get their margarine up to code:

"They originally had a margarine that was above 3 grams, actually, which is very high compared to the .5 that is allowed. Then when we came back and they had replaced it, they replaced it with one that was 2 grams, so it still was too high," [Health Department agent Juan] Gutierrez said.

The owner was good-natured about the fine—he says he asked for healthier margarine after the first violation and just used what his supplier gave him—and promised to do better in the future, even though it would cost him an additional $6 a box to use trans-fat–free margarine. And the switch will only make his meals healthier on the (still-up-for-debate) margins. Trans-fatless margarine need not have any less fat as its competitors. They're just different fats.

Generally, at this point I'd argue that people who are buying food that looks like this:

mmm…. healthy

And this:

mmm….choice

…don't think they're getting a particularly nutritionally impressive meal, and should be free to choose to eat transparently disgustingly delicious food without interference from a health inspector. But this particular take-out joint selected the unfortunate name Healthy Choice for their establishment. So they were pretty much asking for it.