Should Any Government Agency Regulate Our Choice of Food or Beverage?

Today, New York City passed Mayor Bloomberg’s regulation on the sale of sweetened drinks over 16 ounces.  The regulation applies to movie theaters, Broadway Theatres and fast-food restaurants.

Don’t worry, you can still get your calories with milkshakes or McFlurry’s.  The McFlurry with M & M’s, 12 oz size, contains a whopping 710 calories with 230 of those coming straight from fat!  16 of those grams of fat are pure saturated fat.  Yum Yum!

This is an example of what is wrong when governments start trying to regulate things.  They are half-baked.

There are many other foods that are more evil but the basic premise I object to is the government telling anyone what they can and can’t eat.

The regulation by the FDA to have food labeled so the consumer knows what is in the food and can make an informed decision basically goes unregulated.  The labels are misleading, difficult to decipher, understand and apply.  To put it mildly, there are a lot of lies in labeling.

Obviously, there is a different agenda here besides the health of New Yorkers, given the comments by Mr. Galea, a backer of the regulation.

Sandro Galea, who joined the board this year, said he believed that “the evidence is very clear that sugary drinks are contributing to obesity epidemic.”

“The argument that this is restricting choice is a false argument,” Mr. Galea said, noting that customers could purchase as many smaller drinks as they would like. “The identification of threats to the health of the public is a core function of the department.”

Based on Mr. Galea’s comments, he is concerned for your health but if you want to purchase two 16 oz. beverages instead of the usual 20 oz., then you are free to do so.  Given this logic, the consumer may well drink more than they would have before the regulation.

Places like McDonald’s would not be allowed to have drink cups larger than 16 ounces.  I don’t know about New York City, but in most of the fast-food places I have been, beverages are self-serve, so the size of the cup doesn’t matter, the refills are free.  So unless you get your drink to go, the regulation is out the window. Who knows, it may mean another increase in the price of soft-drinks or no free refills in NYC.

It will also be interesting to see if the sale of beverages increases in grocery stores.  We may never know because that would be the other side of the story – one which we seldom hear about.


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