Food Regulations Are Proposed Abroad

Susan Farley
Published Online: Sunday, August 1, 2004

At the European Congress on Obesity held in Prague (Slovak Republic) this past May, it was suggested that the food industry voluntarily introduce color-coded warnings on food labels to advise against obesity and other health problems. At a meeting of Great Britain's House of Commons Health Committee, members called for voluntary withdrawal of junk food advertising on television. Another idea among lawmakers in Britain, Germany, and France is to impose a "fat tax" on foods that exceed limits for calories or fat content. Proceeds would go toward antiobesity research or a national antiobesity agency.

US legislators, although concerned about the obesity epidemic, are not as receptive to such regulations. In fact, in March, the House of Representatives approved the "Cheeseburger Bill" (aka, the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act), which prevents consumers from suing restaurants or companies if they become obese. Critics of the food industry point to processed foods that are chock full of fats and high-fructose corn syrup. The response from the food industry is basically, "If you don't think you should eat it, then don't buy it." None of the proposed regulations from abroad have been imposed.

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