What do raw milk, junk food and tobacco all have in common?

From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:


“I was at a food safety conference a few years back that focused on raw milk, and one state public health official concluded his remarks by saying, to effect, “I personally don’t see why we spend all this time going after raw milk. If people are going to be stupid enough to drink it, then let them go ahead and kill themselves.”

Then, at a raw milk symposium a couple years after that, I heard a raw milk proponent give the other side of the same mind-set. “You know, things will change over the next few years, because the people who oppose us will die off from all the junk food they eat,” she said, referring to the public health regulators.

I always thought those attitudes, while not the sort of peace-making attitudes we’d like to envision, could be the basis of some sort of live-and-let-live approach to the wide gulf over food rights and food safety that exists in our society. It’s definitely preferable to the regulate-and-control approach that has driven oversight of raw milk.

But no, it seems as if the regulate-and-control approach has been judged such a success for raw milk, it’s being extended in a big way to junk food.  New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is proposing  to ban the sales of soda in containers of 16 ounces or greater. The idea is to reduce the obesity epidemic in the city—according to the New York Times report, more than half of New Yorkers are overweight or obese. I’ve seen other estimates that possibly two-thirds of all Americans are overweight or obese….”

More on The Complete Patient blog.

And now a post on Tobacco lawsuits and obesity prevention

From Samantha Graff on Civil Eats blog:

“Nutrition and child advocates are pushing for government policies to counteract the onslaught of junk food marketing targeted at our children.

But there’s something many don’t know: an array of lawsuits currently making their way through the courts could derail our ability to pursue these kinds of regulations.

Right now, judges are preparing to rule on cases that carry major implications for how products like candy, fast food, and soda are marketed to kids. These cases will decide whether the government can prohibit companies from giving free samples of harmful products to children. Whether the government can require stores to post warnings about a product’s dangerous health consequences. Whether the government can require effective disclosures so consumers know what’s in the products they are buying.

These issues and more are currently in play in federal courts around the country. So how could nutrition advocates not know about them?

Because the cases are all about tobacco.

The way our court system works, the outcome of each of these cases has serious implications for food policy, so it’s critical that advocates concerned about obesity and advertising to children pay attention and maybe even get involved.

In a “common law” system like ours, the decision of one court on one topic area may influence—or even bind—a later court interpreting a similar legal provision. So a court interpreting the First Amendment in a cigarette marketing case could be deciding not just what goes for tobacco but what goes for any product that any company wants to advertise.

For instance, an appeals court recently struck down a federal “tombstone advertising” law that limited tobacco ads to black text on a white background, with no pictures. The government’s justification for the law was that an information-only approach makes dangerous products less enticing to children….”

Read more on Civil Eats.


Filed under News

3 responses to “What do raw milk, junk food and tobacco all have in common?

  1. nedlud

    Bureaucracy has become the official, the certain, the causal, way of life for the modern human. As the bureaucrats (and those who believe, or can think of no other way than the bureaucratic way) feel more and more threatened, they will merely increase that which they already are doing.

    This is all quite certain.

    I am at least grateful that the Bovine has chosen (mostly) another direction.

    There is a growing resistance.

    I guess that is the hope.


  2. “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

  3. thebovine

    RE: Drones

    “…over 1,000 Americans have already added their name to a petition posted on the Internet this week. Their plea may sound silly at first glance, but it’s authors appear to be anything other than serious about it: after a Tuesday morning article in the New York Times revealed US President Barack Obama’s authority to add and remove names from a roster of alleged enemies of the state to be executed without due process, 1,679 Americans have already asked that they be placed on a “do not kill” list.

    With the 2012 presidential election less than six months away, issues such as the economy, unemployment and cybersecurity are should to be big talking points as the candidates prepare for voters to hit the polls. Now, however, it appears as if whether or not the next administration can justify killing anyone on command will be a big talking point leading up to November. And although it might not be as big of a selling point as growing out a beard, Obama’s stance on killing his own citizens could make or break his chances come Election Day.

    As of Thursday morning, the creators of the petition are 23,321 signatures short of their goal. Only a day after being published to the Web, however, the sign-up sheet has already received notable publicity.

    “The New York Times reports that President Obama has created an official “kill list” that he uses to personally order the assassination of American citizens,” reads a message posted on the WhiteHouse.gov page that hosts the petition. “Considering that the government already has a “Do Not Call” list and a “No Fly” list, we hereby request that the White House create a “Do Not Kill” list in which American citizens can sign up to avoid being put on the president’s “kill list” and therefore avoid being executed without indictment, judge, jury, trial or due process of law.”


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