Press Release

Thomas Farley, NYC Commissioner of Health, Prescribes an Unhealthy Dose of Government Diet Intervention

September 18, 2012

Consumer Group Refutes Farley’s Latest Viewpoint Article in the Journal of the American Medical Association

Washington, D.C. – Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom criticized Dr. Thomas Farley’s new Viewpoint article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which calls for governments to strictly regulate Americans’ food and drink choices that bureaucrats and health zealots deem unhealthy. As the New York City Health Commissioner, Farley advocates for governments to undertake policies, such as the recent NYC ban on sugar-sweetened beverages over 16 ounces, that regulate consumers’ portion sizes of food and beverages that the government determines “harm the most people.”

J. Justin Wilson, Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom, released the following statement condemning Farley’s proposal:

This isn’t a surprising proposition from someone like Thomas Farley who truly believes the citizens of New York City are “his patient.” Farley and his fellow food scolds feel it is their place to regulate many aspects of Americans’ diets under the guise of public health.

But Americans don’t need a total government takeover of their diet to shed a few extra pounds. It is personal irresponsibility that caused some Americans to expand their waistlines. And it’s going to take personal responsibility, not a government takeover of their diet, to shed those pounds. When it comes to weight loss Farley is missing the forest for the trees. Study after study has demonstrated that the one proven solution to battling weight gain is maintaining a balance of calories in (food) and calories out (physical exercise).

Farley’s proposal is a slippery slope towards government-mandated menus that curtail consumer choice and punish all Americans, regardless of their weight and health. With Farley’s model, the Feds might decree that all hot dogs come half-sized and with a side of cauliflower, whether consumers want it or not.

When it comes to the public’s diet, Farley’s government prescription leaves a bad taste in consumers’ mouths.

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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