Food Totalitarians on Parade - Part Deux

Well that didn't take long. Yesterday, in a post discussing a New York Times op-ed that called for heavy taxation on "unhealthy" foods, I asked, "How long before some starry-eyed but angry-faced Democrat proposes legislation to force 'healthy food' advertising?" Now The Daily Caller reports that food producers could face government regulations requiring "healthy" composition profiles for foods marketed to children two to seventeen years old.

If enacted, new regulatory criteria will reclassify many foods which the FDA presently considers healthy as off limits for advertising to children. In the present formulations, eighty-eight of the top 100 most-consumed foods will be considered ineligible for advertising. "Unhealthy" foods won't be able to be marketed using in-store displays, TV, radio, the Internet, printed media, movie theater concessions, video games, and various other outlets.

A Kraft Foods official points out that while "food and beverage companies should market responsibly to kids," the proposed advertising limitations are "so restrictive that foods like reduced fat peanut butter or two percent milk string cheese could not be advertised to children." In other words, food totalitarians are behaving like totalitarians.

Companies that market irresponsibly pay the price at the hands of consumers after word of product misrepresentations gets around. The marketplace determines product success rates--an utterly reliable, time-tested principle.

In yesterday's post, I wondered, with "[s]ugar, salt, trans-fats, [and] fats in general" coming "under assault by sanctimonious busybodies seeking to dictate 'healthy' eating to everyone," how long would it be until Americans see government-mandated "healthy food" advertising?

We have our answer. Watchdogs at the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Department of Agriculture have joined together to force parents to solve childhood obesity. Again from the Daily Caller:

The government proposal would require that foods marketed to children and teens come from one of the following food groups: fruit, vegetable, whole grain, fat-free or low-fat milk products, fish, extra lean meat or poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, or beans. They must also contain no more than trace amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars and sodium.

Federal food totalitarians are ignoring the actual causes of childhood obesity. Unscrupulous advertising doesn't even make the long list of cause candidates. Besides hardwired eating urges, there is also at least one strong contributing factor to childhood obesity: parental behavior.

Does any clear thinker honestly believe that advertising restrictions and federally-dictated food composition changes will transform parents into automatons who feed kids bogusly-hyped, reformulated food thingies? Most parents look for fast, easy, desirable, filling foods to satisfy kids' hunger pangs. "Improved," "healthier," yucky, lightweight fare doesn't make it onto most parents' shopping lists for good reason: tasteless, unsatisfying concoctions stay in the pantry until said concoctions could be used to hammer in nails; bland, unsubstantial plant materials sit in the fridge until pungent, multicolored growths appear.

So here I go again, making another ridiculous but increasingly likely prediction. Will we next see legislation that calls for kids to be taken from parents who provide the "wrong" foods, those kids then remanded over to the more responsible, more caring state? Remember, many observers scoffed at the suggestion that, in America, Americans would be ordered by the state to buy medical insurance coverage.

A writer, physicist, former high tech executive, and Cajun, Chuck Rogér invites you to sign up to receive his "Clear Thinking" blog posts by email at Contact Chuck at