One more city has fallen to the food cop fiat. On Tuesday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signed a menu labeling bill into law. Rather than letting customers choose whether they want to review the nutrition facts or not, the labeling mandate will force all of us to suffer through the informational equivalent of an ice-cream headache before ordering lunch.
From trans fat bans to government-sponsored calorie-counts, nutrition activists are slowly taking away our personal freedoms. A year ago today, Washington Times columnist Adrienne T. Washington warned us about the utimated progression of this Big Brother phenomenon:
The food police will not stop with the lesser of the evils.
Tell me, who will be left to enforce these expanding food bans against the patrol cops wolfing down doughnuts and coffee loaded with cream and sugar in the 7-Eleven parking lot?
Shrink the Super Size Me zones. Limit food portions. Rest assured that a total ban on foods baked, sautéed, fried or sugared are next.
And the past 12 months have seen Washington’s predictions actualized. Bureaucrats have fought for zoning laws against fast food restaurants, age limits on caffeinated drinks, and federal regulations for salt in our food. Britain’s Food Standards Agency is even slightly ahead of us on the path to nannydom. The agency is currently pushing for the food industry to shrink portion sizes of “unhealthy” snacks and to “reformulate ‘mainstream’ food products to reduce their saturated fat and energy content.”
This debate is about more than just diet, or weight, or even public health. This is an ideological battle between people who think these options should be available to anyone who wants them, and those who think we shouldn’t have the choice. Much of the anti-obesity movement aims to regulate and restrict our ability to eat a cheeseburger—assuming Americans are too stupid to make our own food decisions. And if we’re truly that inept, we’ve got much bigger problems than our love-handles.