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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mississippi Could Pass an Anti-Bloomberg Bill Barring the Government from Informing the Public About the Health Risks of Junk Food

Posted by on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 12:06 PM

NPR says:

On Monday, a state judge in Manhattan struck down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's rule capping soda sizes. And lawmakers in Mississippi are taking the backlash against government regulation on food marketing one step further.

A bill now on the governor's desk would bar counties and towns from enacting rules that require calorie counts to be posted, that cap portion sizes, or that keep toys out of kids' meals. "The Anti-Bloomberg Bill" garnered wide bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature in a state where one in three adults is obese, the highest rate in the nation.

Yes, "The Anti-Bloomberg Bill" is the real name of the bill. Mississippi may not be the most obese state in the union, though; this Gallup poll calls it the second most obese state after West Virginia.

You can complain about the nanny state all you want, but the fact is, the playing field is not fair when it comes to junk food. And we're not doing enough to combat an industry that is spending unthinkable amounts of money to keep us hooked on large quantities of its product. A character in Cory Doctorow's novel Makers points out that it's not like all of a sudden an entire generation of Americans just stopped exercising their willpower:

We didn't get less willful in the last fifty years. Might as well say that all those people who died of the plague lacked the willpower to keep their houses free of rats. Fat isn't moral, it's epidemiological.

An entire generation wasn't suddenly born with an inability to push away from the dinner table. As the junk food industry moves into developing markets, the people in those developing markets become more obese. This has been proven time and time again. It's what Michael Moss's excellent book Salt Sugar Fat is all about. Did the citizens of Mexico and Brazil and China just suddenly happen to lose their will power at the exact same time that junk food companies moved into their countries? How many coincidences have to happen before it's a pattern?

I don't think we should ban junk food. But I do think we should make sure people are informed about the decision they're making when they buy junk food. I think it's hard to find a down side to Washington State's law that demands chain restaurants to list the calories of each item on the menu. I think it's perfectly okay to require corporations to control the portions of their junk food. I think a person is less likely to buy, say, four 16 ounce sodas, rather than one 64-ounce cup from 7-11. I think that's human nature. I don't see a problem with what Bloomberg is trying to do in New York City, and I think that his soda law will eventually be the law of the land in most of the United States, the way cigarettes are taxed and regulated just about everywhere now. But I think there are going to be a hell of a lot more dumbshit maneuvers like this Mississippi law between now and then.


Comments (17) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Why not ban, though?

If the state can compel seatbelts and motorcycle helmets, why can't it ban unhealthful foods? I'm not being rhetorical or ironic here - its a serious question. It seems like your "I don't think we should ban junk food is kind of pro forma - an inoculation against the usual suspect types.

The thing is that its not like people don't know that this stuff is bad for them. Yet they do it anyhow and probably for entirely rational reasons - low cost, convenience etc. So the only way to actually solve the problem is going to be the heavy hand of the state imposing some regulation. Otherwise we're just going to be griping about it till the end of time.
Posted by Alden on March 12, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Jesus, Lincoln should have just let the South secede.
Posted by Keenan C on March 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
Mississippi loves it's reputation as shithole of America. They revel in it.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on March 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Tax junk food advertising to pay for health care, which would include public info campaigns like there is against tobacco.
Posted by anon1256 on March 12, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 5
My opinion of Mississippi remains unchanged.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on March 12, 2013 at 12:43 PM · Report this

I heard Mississippi is changing its State Motto to: "Fat, Drunk And Stupid IS A Way To Go Through Life"...

Posted by COMTE on March 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
ScandalMgr 7
I say let them pass it. Only as long as there is a provision that the USA does NOT have to bail out Missippi's bankrupted health care system/hospitals for obese care, and the state is funding the excess that obese care will really cost.

After all, why should my taxes go to pay for the care of some ignorant, mobidly obese person?
Posted by ScandalMgr on March 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
Hernandez 8
Mississippi is one of the unhealthiest states in the nation, and apparently really wants to keep that title.

I don't eat fast food frequently, but I do like seeing the calorie and nutrition information posted and it does affect my ordering decisions.

Posted by Hernandez on March 12, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
You really can't fix stupid.
Posted by JenV on March 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 10
@6 there are tons of dry counties in the very Christian state of Mississippi.

My Gma's town recently got its first Mexican restaurant, but it can't serve margaritas.

So fat and stupid, sure. Drunk? Takes more effort in good ole Miss'ssippi.
Posted by femwanderluster on March 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Junk food doesn't make people fat.

Gluttony makes people fat.

Warning labels aren't gonna stop them.
Posted by GermanSausage on March 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 12
This would have never happened under a Dick Molpus administration.
Posted by Sir Vic on March 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 13

In that case, warning labels won't harm anyone either, so why oppose them?
Posted by keshmeshi on March 12, 2013 at 2:05 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 14
According to the CIA, Mississippi is the most obese state in the USA.

I wonder if there is a connection?
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 12, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
raindrop 15
Personally, I think Mississippi is a charming state with wonderful folks, great food, and a true gem of the south.
Posted by raindrop on March 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Skye Blu 16
You'd think the fact it is always called junk food would clue people in, perhaps we only need put the "food" part in quotes or drop the food portion altogether since that crap isn't anything remotely resembling actual food.
Posted by Skye Blu on March 12, 2013 at 8:01 PM · Report this
Phil Ochs had it all correct in his song written about 50 years ago, "Here's To The State Of Mississippi. He sang, "Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of "
One may seriously argue wether or not the state govt. has the right to force people to drink smaller sugar based drinks in a restaurant. But to actually have the audacity to attempt to pass legislation to prevent people to be aware of what they are consuming is absolute stupidity, and reeks of just callous disregard for the rights of the citizen of the state.
Phil Ochs also sang this. "Corruption can be classic in the Mississippi way" How true.
One wonders, how can a state government have representatives that are just so stupid that they would deprive it's citizens of a means of selecting better health choices just so they could be in Mike Bloomberg's face.
Posted by kayakherb on March 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this

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