Supporters of government intervention into our food choices seem to believe Americans eat cheeseburgers and fries because we don’t realize how many calories are in them. According to their logic, if government forces restaurants and/or food manufacturers to print the calorie and fat counts BIGGER and BOLDER on menus and the packages, we will choose tofu over cheeseburgers.
That is naive to say the least.
The latest round of food industry labeling changes will simply grow government regulatory powers — and add to the cost of doing business. Ultimately, that adds to the cost of the product. In the end, you and I will pay for the nanny-staters’ misguided faith in government as the solution to whatever they deem a problem. The Wall Street Journal profiles the impact on small business:
The latest proposed requirements to show calorie counts in larger type and disclose added sugars would force Ms. King to ask the printing company she works with to create new printing plates. The cost? About $100 per product, or $5,000 in all for the estimated 50 different cookies, bars, brownies and other desserts, which come in different sizes, weights and flavors. “It’s hard to manage changes and inventories and get all the correct information all over again,” she says.
At Rooibee Red Tea, a five-year-old Louisville, Ky., organic iced-tea business on track to sell 160,000 cases this year, co-owner Heather Howell says the changes, if adopted, will be costly. Due to space limitations on her tea bottles, she will have to work with designers on new artwork at an estimated cost of up to $30,000, she says. “You’re looking at millimeters to fit on a bottle. If the new nutrition label is going to be a little larger, you’ve got to make sure it fits. Everything has to look appealing to the eye.”
And it’s all because government bureaucrats think they can — and should — force us to eat what government thinks we should eat, not what we want to eat. I don’t disagree that obesity is a problem, but it’s a personal problem related to personal choices. It is not a problem for government to “solve.” Those who consume more calories than their body uses have a basic right to do that. In a free society, we are free to make poor choices. But in a free society, we must expect people to shoulder the responsibility of their poor choices, such as higher health insurance premiums that reflect their higher risk for ramifications of too many calories and too few trips to the gym.
This isn’t rocket science. When you eat more than your body needs to fuel itself, you will get fat. We’re just too politically correct to admit it and to tell the nanny-staters to stay out of it.