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Knowing what we're eatingPosted Wednesday, September 12, 2007, at 9:56 AM
Should we know what we eat?
"A judge struck down a New York City rule Tuesday that required (national chain) fast-food restaurants to post calorie content on their menus," the Associated Press reports.
"U.S. District Judge Richard J. Holwell said he determined the rule conflicted with federal law. Businesses had claimed that their First Amendment rights were violated by the rule. Howell said he reached his decision without needing to address those claims.
"(The rule) applied only to those that served standardized portion sizes and were already making calorie information available voluntarily as of March 1. The New York State Restaurant Association had challenged it."
Count me as one who does count calories, especially when it comes to fast food. I realize no one's making us eat it, but at a time when it seems fast-food chains pack in every calorie they can, I'd like to know the ingredients. So why NOT release calorie counts?
And how this trampled on First Amendment rights is beyond me.
The First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Apparently the restaurants demanded the freedom NOT to speak and/or the freedom to configure their menus without government interference. And I can see that to an extent. But what's the difference between requiring nutrition labels on food sold in stores and their equivalent, nutrition labels on menus -- especially when that information's already posted on the Internet? It's not like they're giving away trade secrets.
But: Are there more profits in fattening food, just as bulk means more in vehicle sales? (The bigger the vehicle, the higher the profit.)
Some fast-food calorie and salt counts are ridiculously high -- one serving of some items nears a day's entire recommended intake. Apparently it's the same basis as cigarettes, which are legally required to carry warning labels. The food industry doesn't care about our health as long as they get heir money.
Do fast-food chains not want us to know those calorie contents because they don't want to think twice about what we eat?
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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