Monday, November 12, 2007

Do we really need government food police?

It seems that every day there is a news story about how a certain food or ingredient can be bad for us – or good for us. It’s always nice to have more information about what I’m putting into my body.

I draw the line, though, when communities begin to regulate what people can or can’t eat, or how restaurants prepare food. I fully agree with anti-smoking laws that communities make; after all, second hand smoke can be annoying to people and possibly cause illness after long exposure. I get that. But food doesn’t do that. If I eat a donut, for example, who am I hurting but myself? If I eat an order of salty french fries, does the person sitting in the table next to me gain weight? The answer, of course, is no.

I try very hard to eat healthy foods, but admit that every now and then I crave things that may not be the healthiest for me. For example, if I want to go to a restaurant and eat an order of fries that were fried using hydrogenated oils, that should be my choice. I rarely drink soft drinks, but if I did want a Coke, Pepsi, root beer, etc. made with high fructose corn syrup, that should be my choice. (I don’t drink beverages like that because of the HFCS and sugar in general.)

Communities that try to regulate what people eat is what I call government run amok. It’s taking away the freedom for people to choose.

I’m all for all food producers giving as much information about the fat, calories, and additives put in foods. I’m also for food producers trying to get out of our foods those things that ARE harmful to us. Most people would rather avoid foods that are hazardous to their health. But, in those cases where people want to throw caution to the wind, they should know what their risks are. I believe that most people are smart enough to make their own choice when they are properly informed. Their choice may not be the wisest choice, but at least it’s their own.

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