Government Food Regulation Gets Flaky
The Federal Government, on April 28, announced exhaustive new guidelines telling food manufacturers what and how they may advertise their products. Foods considered "unhealthy" for children appear to be at the center of the government's inter-agency effort to force Americans to clean up their dietary act. Foods high in fat, sugar, and salt are especially repugnant to the federal food cops. And the purpose of the new regulations is to protect helpless American kiddies from the likes of Frosted Flakes and French fries.
The government plans to save our children from lives of certain obesity and bad health by controlling the way noxious substances, such as fast-foods and pizza, are marketed. The theory being that advertisements for foods children like to eat are designed to appeal to them. The ads therefore must be altered so that children become repulsed by the packaging and commercials for their favorite goodies. If this paradoxical stipulation is not met, food companies must cease to market their products.
This takes on a bizarre conspiratorial feel, as if evil companies are trying to brainwash kiddies into eating foods they already like. Is the next step removing products from supermarket shelves because children tend to scoop appealing packages into a shopping cart?
There are logical gaps in this effort by the feds to promote health by punishing companies for producing foods that people like to buy. First is the assertion that marketing itself leads to obesity and related problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Advertisements have only the power to inform, not to force a choice on the consumer. The power lies with the parent to say "no" to a whiny toddler or persistent pre-teen if they don't want them to eat certain foods. Are American parents really so vapid they can't make their own decisions about what to eat? And does government wield the power to force good habits on its citizens through marketing censorship? The answer is "no." If people want to eat fat, salt, sugar, or too much of anything, they will do it, whether it comes from the shelves of a store, the counter of a fast food joint, or their own pantry.Continued on the next page