The New York Times reported last week that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is investigating food companies’ use of labels on breakfast cereals and other products. The usual suspects have piled on: Marion Nestle has denounced the program and Kelly “Big Brother” Brownell has already consulted with the state government. Top food cop Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest was on the committee charged with designing the “Smart Choices” food labels now facing scrutiny — until he resigned a year ago over a disagreement that the sugar guidelines were too lax (read: not puritanical enough).
By trying to implement a labeling program of their own, food companies are rejecting the idea that nutrition regulation is the sole province of government. But that’s anathema to dietary do-gooders like Nestle, Brownell, and Jacobson, who probably rely on government directives for shoe-tying and sock-sorting.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal yesterday, Allysia Finley exposes the hypocrisy of self-anointed food police trying to have it both ways:
Smart Choices is exactly the kind of program that Mr. Blumenthal and consumer advocates should be in favor of since it makes nutritional information more visible to consumers. Lately, government officials have been pressuring the food industry to take a more active role in curbing obesity…
The Smart Choices Program is doing exactly what government officials say that the food industry should do, but won’t do on its own. But now that the industry is taking the initiative to promote healthier choices, the government wants to criminalize the industry for doing it in a marketable and profitable way.