It was only a matter of time. This morning the Boston Globe reports that U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials are “considering placing warning labels on packages of foods deemed unhealthy by government scientists.” Acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford told the Globe that Nutrition Facts food labels — the ubiquitous boxes listing calories, fat, and other dietary information on commercial food packages — may be transformed ”from providing information into providing warnings.” Crawford, the Globe writes, insists that these food warnings would be “less harsh than those on cigarette packs.” Somehow we’re not comforted.
A few years ago Canada’s health bureaucracy made headlines by redefining “harsh” tobacco warnings. Cigarette packs in the Great White North now feature graphic images of rotting gums and diseased heart muscles. Can sensationalistic photos of rotund bellies on cookie packages be far behind? Given that animal rights activists are flooding the media with false claims that meat causes impotence, and obesity-lawsuit advocates promote the ridiculous idea that anything tasty must be clinically “addictive,” the Canadian warning-label model (click here and here) may be a stunning bit of prophecy.
If you apply the public-health tobacco model to food, these warning labels may foreshadow lawsuits, the dreaded “Twinkie tax,” and then more lawsuits. Those of us who might like to indulge in a candy bar at work may find ourselves limited to a designated “snack” area 50 feet from the door of our office building.
So much for “Eat, drink, and be merry.”