Grapes can kill you. And New York City lawmakers want to make sure you’re aware of that danger the next time you unassumingly pick up some produce at your local grocery store. Grapes aren’t the only “threat” targeted by city lawmakers in a bill that would mandate warnings on bite-size foods — known to be choking hazards for kids younger than five. The ordinance would also add popcorn, pistachios, and peanut butter to the ever-growing list of dangers to our health.
This morsel mandate is a clear-cut example of a public-policy “slippery slope.” Councilmember Domenic Recchia justified his proposal by citing the city’s menu-labeling law as a precedent: “If they can put the number of calories on products sold to the public from fast food restaurants, then we could put labels on products that are dangerous to children.” Following that logic, politicians could label, regulate, or ban anything that’s potentially harmful, which translates to “anything under the sun” (and probably the sun itself too).
Today, the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorialized against this steady erosion of our freedoms:
Those who believe there is no harm in Big Brother-style dictation of what foods Americans may eat do not realize the slippery slope upon which they are treading. When government becomes so powerful that it can spell out something as fundamental as our diet choices, it is powerful enough to restrict our choices on matters of far greater importance.
True freedom involves the freedom to make some bad choices.