Do we need government to tell us to chew our food thoroughly?

First it was Michelle Obama reprimanding us for turning our kids into obese, health-care-system-saboteurs by feeding them too many PopTarts. Now, the good doctors over at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) want to save us from the dangers of ingesting geometrically challenged foodstuffs.

In the latest decree from the AAP and FDA, they state the need for food manufacturers to not only provide warning labels for possible windpipe obstructing edibles like hot dogs, but also to change the shape of said comestible asphyxiators to be less potentially lethal. Sounds like more red meat (no pun intended) for the Trial Lawyers of America.


"According to the AAP, about 10,000 children younger than 14 are rushed to the hospital each year after choking on food, and up to 77 young people die, the statement said. All of this may be prevented, the academy says, with warning labels on packaging for hazardous foods, recalls on foods known to cause choking, and even the ‘redesign' of risky products like the hot dog."

First off, let me make this perfectly clear, I am adamantly anti-choking. Furthermore, I hope I never have the need to perform, let alone say out loud, the Heimlich maneuver. I find it very distasteful from both a visual and auditory perspective.

Very seriously now, with all sarcasm aside, every childhood death, no matter the cause, is an unspeakable tragedy. This is not an attempt to trivialize or make light of that. However, despite the valiant efforts of so many people on so many fronts, tragedies still happen everyday. No amount of government oversight or control is ever going to completely eliminate this fact, regardless of the AAP's insistence that "all this may be prevented."

So, in light of this, it must be asked: Is the unfortunate death of less than 100 people annually in this country, out of over 300,000,000, reason enough to create the level of economic hardship on food manufacturers that would be created by the necessity of retrofitting their production facilities? And, is the real intent of all this to bring yet another viable, profit-making industry to its knees under the guise of protecting our kids? Finally, what about the parental role in all of this? Shouldn't we be the ones who take responsibility for the substance AND shape of what our children eat?

Ultimately though, my real concern over this latest attempt at further governmental intrusion into every aspect of our lives boils down to this: Is it still a hot dog if it's no longer wiener-shaped, or is it just a bunch of baloney? Alas, first Chevrolet, now hot dogs. What's next, apple pie?

Oh yeah, I forgot, Mrs. Obama has taken care of that too.

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