Trial attorneys have hoped for the better part of a decade that food companies could be the next deep-pocketed targets for fat-headed lawsuit campaigns. And, despite legal defeats, they still hope for an obese payday. The latest ploy is to claim that food is addictive like a drug, and that got a bit of attention after a recent 60 Minutes piece featured the theory.
That feature and the underlying claim that foods are like drugs drew skepticism from the Denver Post’s Vincent Carroll. Sure, foods are good-tasting because humans are naturally drawn to salt and calories. (You need calories to live at all, and new studies are showing evidence that sodium isn’t the demon activists say it is.) And since when did we attack chefs and cook book writers for trying to create better tasting fare? But as Carroll explains, there might very well be a motive behind the activists’ push to label foods “addictive”:
The question is what to do with the conclusion. One obnoxious possibility: Let’s portray major food companies as crack dealers — or as the equivalent of rogue tobacco companies that must be reined in through litigation and regulation.
Carroll goes on to call the activists’ claim that food marketing is equivalent to tobacco marketing “ugly and illegitimate” noting that “smoking is inherently unhealthy … eating pizza is not.” Whether or not it’s legitimate, activist trial lawyers will do all they can to undercut common sense and personal responsibility and cash in on these ridiculous theories.
Leave it to leading food cop Kelly Brownell to state his hopes out loud: “This could change the legal landscape.” If he gets his way, trial lawyers will be richer and consumers’ food choices will be poorer.