Accuracy in Media

First it was New York City, the Philadelphia and now the Peoples Republic of Montgomery County Maryland has joined in the movement to regulate what people eat by banning trans fats in restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries and delis starting in 2008.

The ban also considers a church supper which often features fried foods as a food establishment and subject to the same requirements as restaurants unless they receive a waiver from the health department. 

While I am all for eating healthier the idea that the government is telling me what is good for me and what is not is appalling.  What ever happened to the notion of personal choice and individual liberty? 

One of the problems with this trans fat ban is that restaurateurs can’t always find healthy replacements for the trans fatty oils and may be forced to use palm and coconut oils or butter which can also clog arteries.  So in the end the ban may just move the restaurants from one “bad” oil to another and may not save lives after all. 

As council member Duchy Trachtenberg, the chief sponsor of the bill told The Washington Post “The goal is to protect the public health,” and that “People want to know what they are eating.”  Does she actually believe that someone going to a McDonalds, Burger King or KFC restaurant is actually expecting to eat something that won’t be potentially bad for their health?  With all the consumer activism you would have to have been living in a cave to not know a fast food burger or piece of fried chicken is laden with fat and that if you want a healthy meal this isn’t the food for you.  Plus I love that line about protecting the public health.  I don’t seem to recall any movement in the county where people were demanding that they be protected from trans fatty oils. 

Americans and I think that there are still some living in Montgomery County generally want and deserve the right to eat what they want.

Once again the council has wandered off the reservation as even the Democratically controlled state legislature which passed plenty of onerous laws this year backed off of issuing a state wide ban on the offending oil.  To add insult to injury this law doesn’t even need the County Executive’s signature, (though he probably would have signed it) because it is a health regulation. We don’t get to vote, we just have to obey.

To the county council I say Let us eat our trans fatty cake!

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