What restaurants are doing with trans fat

May 07, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

Here's what some restaurants in the Tri-State area have done regarding the use of trans fat:

· Stadium Grill and Tavern in Hagerstown switched to using Wesson Smart Choice, a cottonseed/canola oil blend that contains no trans fat about two months ago. This is used for all of the restaurant's deep-fried menu items, including french fries, wings and mozzarella sticks.

Stephen Parrotte II, co-owner and general manager, said he doesn't know if the menu, which lists 60 to 70 items, is completely free of trans fat. The cooks use trans fat-free butter when sauting, grilling and buttering pasta.

The new oil has little flavor transfer, said Sean Dunham, kitchen manager. When different foods are fried in the same oil, sometimes flavor can transfer from one food to another, he said.


Freddie's Subs in the Hagerstown area started using a trans fat-free canola oil called Optimax in its deep fryers about three months ago, said Erma Sutton, manager at the Oak Ridge Drive restaurant. The Park Lane location did the same. The change was made at the recommendation of its food service supplier, she said.

Sutton said the menu is probably not completely trans fat-free.

· Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Waynesboro, Pa., is working toward reducing the use of trans fat, General Manager Nick Kinna said.

The restaurant's contracted pie maker started using trans fat-free Wesson soybean oil about two months ago. Some of the oils the restaurant uses contain trans fat and some don't.

· Yellow Brick Bank in Shepherdstown, W.Va., uses butter, olive oil and an olive oil/soybean blend, none of which include the term "hydrogenated" in their ingredients, Floor Manager Laird Marshall said. Those are the only oils the restaurant has used since the mid-1990s.

The restaurant makes almost everything (not always the ice cream) from scratch. Butter, not shortening, is used to make pie crusts. "There's no shortening in this building," he said.

"If there is something here with trans fat in it, I'm not aware of it," Marshall said.

The Walden Restaurant at The Woods Resort west of Hedgesville, W.Va., changed oils about a year ago to use a trans fat-free canola oil rather than vegetable shortening for frying and a trans-fat-free olive oil for sauting, said Terry North, restaurant manager.

North said there is "most definitely trans fat in the dessert(s)," which are bought from a supplier.

· McDonald's is working to reduce and eliminate where possible trans fats from fried menu items, according to an e-mail from McDonald's USA spokeswoman Julie Pottebaum.

McDonald's has identified an alternative oil that customers say produced the same taste in fries. The chain's ability to achieve broader distribution of the alternative oil is based upon the availability of supply.

The chain provides information about trans fats on their nutrition informational materials, Web site, back of tray liners and product packaging.

· Kentucky Fried Chicken: As of May 1, its restaurants were to have switched to using "0 trans fat cooking oil," a low-linolenic soybean oil, as opposed to the previously used partially hydrogenated soybean oil, said Kentucky Fried Chicken spokeswoman Laurie Schalow. Schalow said there could still be minuscule amounts of trans fat because it occurs naturally in cheese and meats.

The online ingredients listing for original recipe chicken no longer stated as of Thursday the product is cooked in partially hydrogenated soybean oil, but it didn't state what type of oil is used.

As of Friday, Kentucky Fried Chicken's Web site still listed several products being made with hydrogenated oils.

· Uno Chicago Grill introduced "0 g trans fat" french fries in 2006, said Abby Hunt with CKPR, the public relations firm that represents Uno. Uno is in the process of eliminating artificial trans fat from menu items. Uno is testing new ingredients to substitute for trans fat.

As of Friday, Uno's online nutrition information listed several foods with "partially hydrogenate" in the ingredients listings.

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