Nutritional Information on the Front of Food Packaging
According to this report there are about to be new food labeling guidelines set forth by the FDA requiring nutritional information to be printed on the front of food packaging. The rule currently states that nutritional information can be anywhere on the package as long as a customers can easily read it. Now, according to my calculations there are 6 sides to a rectangular prism shaped container. Holding a cereal box here in my hands, Grape Nuts, it took me 5 seconds to leisurely scan all 6 sides (I’m guessing about 5). The government, to their credit, has their hearts in the right place. They genuinely don’t want people to get fat and it could be argued that they’re just trying to help us simpletons out by making the placement of nutritional information standard on all packaging. However, as with most regulations, this one totally misses the point. It isn’t going to make anybody healthier. The simple fact is that while we’re obviously not conscientious of our health, we’re not stupid like the government seems to think.
There’s no Such Thing as a Vitamin Cookie:
Everybody knows Oreos are unhealthy. There’s no possible way somebody says to themselves, “Gee, I think I’ll have a box of Oreos. That’ll help me lose weight.” Have you ever tried to figure out a person by looking into his grocery basket? I have. The funny thing is that you know what’s in the baskets before you look. When is the last time you’ve ever seen some really fat person (the kind who uses those little electric carts) with broccoli? Unhealthy people know perfectly well that the three bags of Cheetos they’re about to buy do not count as a serving of dairy. The person’s problem is not that he doesn’t know he’s killing himself, it’s that he doesn’t care enough to change it. Food labeling isn’t going to stop someone who wants to eat Cheetos from eating Cheetos. The government would be better served with a plan to convince people to eat better, not by micro-managing their lives. Nobody ever changed anything through force. Food labeling isn’t education, it’s bureaucracy. People should see the personal and social responsibility they have to eat gooder (that’s a word) and then change their behavior willingly. Labeling obviously doesn’t do that.
The Government has no Right to Lecture:
It’s a little obvious to point out, but isn’t the government just one big bloated fat guy who can’t control himself in the cookie isle? The absolute last person or entity that should be lecturing about austerity is the federal government. Even when it comes to food they have no right to lecture. Jamie Oliver has this great program called Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. He takes a trip to West Virginia and tries to change the school lunch program into something resembling healthy. The resistance he encounters is comical. Take a look. It’s eye opening. The government has no right to legislate our health if they can’t even get their own business in order.
If I Were in Charge:
I like to exercise, and I know exercising is healthy, and it would go a long way towards making everybody else healthy too. Thus, following the government’s reasoning, everybody should be made to exercise every day because it’s in our collective best interest. Well, at least we should remind people to exercise, right? We ought to require that every television set be labeled on the front (somewhere on the casing) in big red letters EXERCISE! Never mind that it’s distracting to see a big red warning label while watching the TV. People need to know, damnit! It begs the question, where does it stop? That’s the problem with government. They miss the point. People choose not to exercise just like they choose not to eat well. Labeling boxes is just another silly regulation that nobody needs or wants. I don’t think the government is going to stop at food labeling either. It’s not crazy to imagine, sometime in the future, state regulated diets. No thanks.
Changing people diets and fitness practices requires a social consciousness that a lot of people don’t have. Yes, fat people drive health care costs up. Yes, heat attacks kill mothers and fathers of small kids and then leave those kids stranded in life. But, unless people understand the social implications of poor eating, no amount of regulation is going to help. Not only will it not help, it’ll alienate people, causing them to fight the government rather than help it. I already eat healthy, but hearing that the FDA thinks I’m stupid makes me want to go buy some chips and soda just to spite them.