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Menu Labeling and Soda Bans: Just Another Attempt from the ‘Food Police’

“Conservatives are distracted by the Michelle Obama half of the equation" while more onerous things are happening, says scholar.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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October 4, 2013 - 12:11 am
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WASHINGTON – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda ban was struck down in July, but other regulations meant to improve food safety and curb obesity still persist, much to the discontent of those that deem such actions as misguided overreach from the government’s “food police.”

The problem with many healthy-eating initiatives is that they pose a potential encroachment on the freedom of Americans, said Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute. As examples of this intrusion, he pointed out a Chicago public school that prohibited parents from packing their child’s lunch because school personnel could not monitor the meals. He also referred to a Harvard public health study that suggested obese children be removed from their parents.

Olson, during a panel at the Heritage Foundation focused on government interventions in the dietary choices of Americans, added that the threat from the Obama administration is not from the first lady’s “Let’s Move” health initiative to encourage children to stay active and eat healthy food.

“Conservatives are distracted by the Michelle Obama half of the equation, where most of what she has done is pretty innocuous actually,” he said. “We’re not paying attention when President Obama named as head of the Centers for Disease Control none other than Thomas Frieden, Bloomberg’s health czar in New York. That’s a much greater tipping of his hand than anything Michelle Obama has done.”

Frieden was appointed to the post in 2009, following a seven-year stint as New York City Health Department commissioner through Bloomberg’s first two terms, pushing anti-trans fat and anti-smoking proposals during his tenure.

Olson said the Obama administration is funneling massive grants to localities that are willing to do things like “propagandize against salt and fat” and for outright lobbying to “stir up these local initiatives to have the town ban happy meals or have the town ban the locations of a fast food restaurant through zoning.”

“You thought these things were springing up because someone was interested in them. The fact is, the federal government, your money, has been paying for those things to spring up everywhere,” Olson said. “I don’t know whether we can defund Obamacare in general. But the fact is Obamacare has a slush fund, which is going to be throwing off $2 million often insulated from the appropriations process in Congress in order to do health interventions including propaganda and much else. I hope they can at least defund that part of it.”

Traditionally, public health has focused on battling communicable diseases to ensure the well-being of the American people by doing things like ensuring that the water supply is clean, monitoring food supply safety, and promoting vaccination.

If the old public health paradigm was about protecting Americans from things beyond their control, the new paradigm is about protecting Americans from themselves, said J. Justin Wilson, a senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom.

“The trouble with the new public health paradigm…is that it’s inherently paternalistic but also that’s impossible to take into account that we all have different risk tolerances,” he said.

Having all but eliminated the dangers of tainted foods and other major communicable diseases, government bureaucrats have redefined themselves and shifted their focus from safety to nutrition, Wilson said.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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Too much obesity is a national security concern, it is a proper fucntion of government to do something about it. Our military has let our nation down, they spend too much time on wars on the other side of the world, the "ego booster" stuff, when they should be spending time in their own country, making sure that America can actually defend itself, here, not in Afghanistan.

I LOVE menu information laws. What are they afraid of? That people will be informed? The "extra cost" is zero, don't make me laugh.

As long as the regulations are enacted on a state level, I got no problem with it. The people will choose. The federal government has no business enacting these kind of laws.

Obese children, should ABSOLUTELY be removed from their parents! Again, this should be done on a state level. Childhood obesity is child ABUSE.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The tyranny that makes you feel morally superior is the tyranny you embrace.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
People get their eating habits from home. Mothers should cook simple balanced meals and serve them at regular times. Snacks should be available but limited. The time spent on electronic devices should also be limited. Feminists lured women out of their homes so they could get jobs as nutritionists and menu planners for the school boards.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was cursed with a mother who thought nothing of cooking a balanced lunch and a seven course dinner from scratch, usually from home raised vegetables and livestock, six or seven days a week.

Meanwhile, my school lunch-lady's son was hideously obese—apparently living on a diet of onions, sugar and Easy Cheese™.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think I need to visit Mom and Dad. The livestock is gone and the garden is now small, but her kitchen still takes up a third of the house. About the only exercise she gets anymore is cooking, and she loves to cook.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
A strong Republican, I LOVE the food police! As a small example, I used to drink an afternoon snack of Burger King's iced coffee. Because the 'food police' require calorie & fat numbers to be available, I now know that their simple iced coffee has 360 calories and 10 grams of fat!!!!! That's worse than many healthy MEALS!
Thank you, food police!
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are what you eat is an old adage. What kids eat (hopefully without any edicts from any government) is the sole responsibility of their families. Drinking too much water can actually kill you (there was a water gulping competition whereby a young student died literally of overdose of water). School meals in the depression were healthier- apples and soup (soup with vegetables and pieces of meat), hard bread (Wasa)has better nutritional value and benefits. There are good news- one of the reasons Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel won the re-election was 'Stop the Food Police'. Another reason to bear in mind is the different ethic foods- which should be available (this is based on metabolism/genes etc.).
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not just menu labeling, it's all sorts of "directives". Like having to buy a license for owning a dog. Really? What are we, 15th century England?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

My understanding is that "food safety" has be upgraded to "food security".
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
PUT the sugar DOWN, when I return for overseas for any length of time I feel upon landing in the USA we had an OUT Break of Fat Slobs
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The difference between a conservative and a liberal: If a conservative doesn't want to eat sugar, he doesn't. If a liberal doesn't want to eat sugar, he's going to make d@mn sure you don't either.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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