Friday, January 12, 2007

Trans-fat ban

NYC has already passed a trans-fat ban effective for the entire city, and in Crain's Chicago business newsletter yesterday there was an article about Chicago considering the same type of law. I am a big supporter of the smoking ban because your smoking affects other people. I choose not to inhale carcinogens, so I do not want to breathe in the ones you are blowing out. However, I think the trans-fat ban is entirely different- its crossing the line of government paternalism.

I am all for education about food and your health. Adult and childhood obesity rates are sky rocketing and this ultimately has an affect on our economy due to rising health care needs. Type II diabetes is now being diagnosed in younger and younger kids and doctors have no idea how early the typical complications will begin manifesting in children and teens. I ate at McDonald's yesterday (blame the baby, it wanted a burger) and saw that the french fries container had the same nutrition label you see on packaged food at the store. This kind of information is good- people see what goes in their food and can decide whether or not they want to eat it. I saw that it had 380 calories and way too much saturated fat, but I ate it anyway. This isn't McDonald's fault, I just wanted them (still blaming the baby). I could support a law that required restaurants to say which items had trans-fat in them- I wouldn't campaign for it, but I wouldn't have any objections. When you're eating out you often don't know what was used to cook your food and the scientific evidence on the dangers of trans-fat is pretty clear.

We are a society centered around public choice and as long as what you choose to do doesn't affect others, you're generally free to go on doing it (except things like illegal drugs, but that's a whole other issue). Yesterday I wanted my fatty fries from McDonald's. I appreciated the fact they told me what was in them and I made the choice to eat every single one anyway. The baker interviewed in Crain's was saying this would change the ingredients, taste, and cost of nearly all of his goods. I don't think a city should be able to impose a ban on an ingredient and method of cooking food.

No comments:

Post a Comment