FOOD POLICE UPDATE
The federal government has a growing interest in the eating habits of Americans for the same reason it has an interest in tobacco consumption, said Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The reason is money, because three-quarters of medical-spending is driven by chronic diseases, such as obesity and tobacco-related diseases, she said.
Sebelius’ comments came at the tail-end of Tuesday’s White House press conference where officials showcased nine new photos that must be carried on cigarette packs. Officials used a survey of 18,000 people to find the images that would have the most distressing impact on groups of smokers, including young smokers and mothers of young kids.
“We want teenagers to understand smoking is gross, not cool,” said the HHS chief. If the public becomes desensitized to the distressing pictures, they’ll be replaced by new pictures, she said.
The regulations are justified, she said, because tobacco causes 443,000 premature deaths, and creates “$200 billion a year in health costs that we clearly could spend better elsewhere,” she said.
But the press questions shifted to food labels when a reporter pressed officials about new food-labeling standards being promoted by the government.
The standards are part of a much larger push by medical professionals to regulate the food sector. The medical professionals, led by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have allied with professional advocacy groups, such as Center for Science in the Public Interest, and with leading Democratic politicians, to blame the food-sector for increasing obesity rates in the American population, and especially among African-Americans.
People like to eat the increasing amount of cheap food produced by the food industry, and the rate of obesity has climbed steadily. In turn, obesity has spiked government and private health-care costs, because fat people are more prone to expensive diseases such as heart-failure and diabetes.
Federal health-care bills have risen in step, partly because of obesity’s costs, but also because many medical-professionals and Democrats want the federal government to fund a growing portion of the nation’s health-care spending.
These political interests reinforce each other. Health-care professionals say their expertise can reduce the federal government’s health-care costs, and politicians say they need professional expertise to curb the growing cost of expanding federal health-care programs.
First Lady Michelle Obama, for example, has accelerated the process by simultaneously supporting the Obamacare expansion of government spending, while also establishing her ‘Let’s Move’ anti-obesity campaign. The professional campaign is aimed chiefly at African-Americans, and urges parents and children to exercise more and to eat carefully.
In April, the FDA published a new set of rules requiring restaurants to show the calories in each menu item, and the Federal Trade Commission released a set of guidelines for food that is marketed to children. These steps were mandated by the 2009 Obamacare health-sector law.
When asked if the government would extend tobacco-style regulations to food deemed fattening, Sebelius told the reporters that the federal guidelines are only voluntary.
In the same press conference, Margaret Hamburg, the FDA’s chief, added that “we need to work with industry to provide consumers … with the best possible information about nutrition and health so that we can all make good choices in terms of promoting and protecting health.”
“The food industry recognizes there are ways they can improve,” said Hamburg. “We certainly have a vested interest in that as a public health agency, and we want to work with them on that.”
“When the combined voice of the four most important regulatory agencies for [your industry] speak, it is hard for companies to ignore those guidelines, even if you feel they are unwarranted or unfounded,” said McBride. “Industry shares Ms. Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation, and we will continue to work with government stakeholders towards that goal,” he said.
Sebelius deflected questions about whether food officials would mandate distressing pictures on food they consider unhealthy. (For Now)
SECRETARY SEBELIUS: Well, again, I think tobacco is unique. It is a product that is the number one cause of preventable death. We know that there are strategies that can be very effective, because they’ve been in place. We also know that we’ve been stalled in this country. So I think this effort about tobacco regulation, efforts around tobacco cessation, has been decades-old and is something that is a unique situation.
Having said that, I do think that there are going to be ongoing discussions — as you look at the underlying health care costs, where we spend 75 cents of every health care dollar treating chronic disease — what are the areas, if you want to lower health costs and have a healthier country, that you can focus on? Certainly, tobacco and obesity become two of the major underlying causes. So the work around obesity and healthier, more nutritious eating, more exercise will continue to be I think an ongoing focus.
I think this is some space that is going to continue to have a robust conversation, because, again, it has a lot to do with underlying health costs and overall health of our nation. (Aka ObamaCare) 🙂
But as she stepped off the podium, Sebelius finally threw an answer back to the reporter who had asked if distressing images would be mandated for fattening foods. “Just lots of celery stalks and broccoli,” she said. (Townhall.com)
So put down that cookie Fatso!!
And that Microwave Dinner, EVIL!
The Food Police are Coming For you Tubby!
Mama Government does not approve.
The government knows better.
Tony the Tiger, some NASCAR drivers and cookie-selling Girl Scouts will be out of a job unless grocery manufacturers agree to reinvent a vast array of their products to satisfy the Obama administration’s food police.
Either retool the recipes to contain certain levels of sugar, sodium and fats, or no more advertising and marketing to tots and teenagers, say several federal regulatory agencies.
The same goes for restaurants.
It’s not just the usual suspected foods that are being targeted, such a thin mint cookies sold by scouts or M&Ms and Snickers, which sponsor cars in the Sprint Cup, but pretty much everything on a restaurant menu.
Although the intent of the guidelines is to combat childhood obesity, foods that are low in calories, fat, and some considered healthy foods, are also targets, including hot breakfast cereals such as oatmeal, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, yogurt, wheat bread, bagels, diet drinks, fruit juice, tea, bottled water, milk and sherbet.
Food industries are in an uproar over the proposal written by the Federal Trade Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“The most disturbing aspect of this interagency working group is, after it imposes multibillions of dollars in restrictions on the food industry, there is no evidence of any impact on the scourge of childhood obesity,” said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers.
The “Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children, Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulation Efforts” says it is voluntary, but industry officials say the intent is clear: Do it, or else.
“When regulators strongly suggest a course of action, it’s treated as a rule, not a suggestion,” said Scott Faber, vice president of federal affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Industry tends to heed these suggestions from our regulators, and this administration has made it clear they are willing to regulate if we don’t implement their proposal.”
It’s not just the food industry that will be impacted. Hundreds of television shows that depend on the advertising revenue, such as the Nickelodeon Channel, ESPN, and programs including “American Idol” will be affected, critics of the proposal say—at a cost of $5.8 trillion in marketing expenditures that support up to 20 million American jobs.
If the food is not reformulated, no more ads or promotions on TV, radio, in print, on websites, as well as other digital advertising such as e-mail and text messaging, packaging, and point-of-purchase displays and other in-store marketing tools; product placement in movies, videos, video games, contests, sweepstakes, character licensing and toy branding; sponsorship of events including sport teams and individual athletes; and, philanthropic activity tied to branding opportunities.
That includes softball teams that are sponsored by food companies and school reading programs sponsored by restaurants.
“The Interagency working group recommends that the food industry, through voluntary self-regulatory efforts, make significant improvements in the nutritional quality of foods marketed to children and adolescents ages 2 to 17 years,” the proposal says.
“By the year 2016, all food products within the categories most heavily marketed directly to children should meet two basic nutrition principles. Such foods should be formulated to … make a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet and minimize the content of nutrients that could have a negative impact on health and weight.”
The foods most heavily marketed directly to children and adolescents fall into 10 categories: “breakfast cereals, snack foods, candy, dairy products, baked goods, carbonated beverages, fruit juice and non-carbonated beverages, prepared foods and meals, frozen and chilled desserts, and restaurant foods.”
Beth Johnson, a dietician for Food Directions in Maryland, said many of the foods targeted in this proposal are the same foods approved by the federal government for the WIC nutrition program for women, infants and children.
“This doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” Johnson said. “It’s not going to do anything to help with obesity. These are decisions I want to make for my kids. These should not be government decisions.” (Human Events)
But it will make a bunch of Liberals “feel good” that they have “done something” to save kids from evil capitalists trying to make them fat! 🙂
Rejoice! The Government is here to save you and your Kids from YOU!
They’rrre Grrrreattt! 🙂