Nanny State? Real or a Convenient Fabrication of the Food Lobby?

End the Nanny State or the Nanny State Excuse
Which do you believe will help solve the obesity epidemic?

What makes me mad?  Idiotic comments that the powerful “pro-food” lobby throws out like “Nanny State.”  I just read an article entitled “Nanny State Won’t Fix Child Obesity”.  It infuriated me.  Have you heard this term bantered about?  What do you think of it?

I heard “Nanny State” mentioned for the first time about three or four years ago when I was doing some research for my book, FAT PROFITS. After working in the food industry for almost 20 years, I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of what it was like to work within a big, food company.  What I didn’t have a good understanding of was the powerful food lobby.  So I did some research, and what I learned was startling.

I discovered a particularly revealing look at how the food lobby works in a 60 Minutes piece called “Meet Dr. Evil.” Yes, I had always realized that many lobbyists were nothing more than paid mercenaries.  But hearing Rick Berman, a powerful food, beverage, and restaurant industry lobbyist speak with callous disregard about the problem of obesity was startling.  When commenting on the obesity epidemic he says, “this whole issue that it’s a disease, that it’s not your fault that you’re fat. I mean, if this is a disease, this is going to be the only disease in the country that you could solve by taking long walks and keeping your mouth shut. This is a personal responsibility issue in most cases.”

Veiling objections to government regulation with words like “Nanny State” and “personal choice and responsibility” is appalling.  And what solutions does Rick Berman offer up?  None.  Absolutely none!  Seriously, if you have the time, watch this 60 Minutes piece.  It is very powerful.

To the likes of Rick Berman and others spinning the “nanny state” yarn, if the government hadn’t stepped in with cigarettes, where would we be now?  Smoking rates are down thanks to regulation.  I can promise you that would not be the case if we let the tobacco industry “self-regulate” itself.  We’ve been there, done that. It DOESN’T work!

For DECADES the food industry has promised self-regulation as the answer.  See where we are now?  Is it the answer?  Have we made progress?  No!  I want more for our children.  Let’s give some real regulation a chance.  If it doesn’t work, then let’s figure out why and improve it.  But let’s not listen to unsubstantiated idiocy that proposes we sit around and do nothing.  That is truly absurd.

What do you think?  Do you think we have a “nanny state”?  Is personal responsibility and choice the answer to the obesity problem?  I’d love to hear what you think.  So please feel free to comment below and share this with your friends and family!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Tora

    Lobbyists and marketing people are really good at using language to their advantage, coining phrases like “nanny state” to suggest that evil, big government is somehow stepping into people’s lives and choices. (As though big corporations weren’t trying to control what people do, but that’s another issue.) But, isn’t protecting citizens one of the reasons we elect government in the first place? After all, as families we make rules that we think will help to keep us safe and healthy. The citizens of New York elected a mayor that would do the same for them, and restricting soda sizes is one rule they have imposed to try to protect its citizens. New York didn’t ban sales of all sodas; people are still free to choose them and to choose them in any quantity they want (just more containers).

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