In an op-ed in today’s Baltimore Examiner, the Center for Consumer Freedom blasts the Montgomery (MD) County Council members pushing the latest food activist cure-all: menu labeling legislation. The problem: There’s little to no evidence that menu labeling actually changes customer behavior for the better, and forcing restaurants to turn their menus into nutritional encyclopedias can be incredibly costly.
There’s a huge difference between personal responsibility and dietary paternalism. Legislators and nutrition activists want to turn personal meals into public affairs, wedging legislation between you and your waistline. Under the new law, calorie counts for every item will be plastered across menus, whether you want them or not. And this will have unintended consequences.
A growing chorus of researchers is cautioning regulators about the collateral damage of programs similar to menu labeling. During the same time that health officials have placed increasing emphasis on obesity rates, the incidence of eating disorders has nearly tripled. As Sen. Hillary Clinton put it, “many adolescents misinterpret [the fight against obesity] as a message that they should eat to achieve the body of a runway model. Anorexia and bulimia are increasingly common among our nation’s youth.”
Americans should still have a right to guilt-free eating.