Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Nanny State: Alive and Well

The electorate may be shuffling to the right, but the Nanny State is alive and well, at least when it comes to food.

Last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made headlines by suggesting a ban on large sodas as a way to curb obesity. The idea won praise from the nutrition community but prompted ridicule from many others, including comedian John Stewart.

Less visible was an April proposal from a meat processing association to outlaw rare hamburgers as a food safety measure. Jay Wenther, executive director of the American Association of Meat Processors, pitched the rare hamburger ban to the Conference for Food Protection, a nonprofit group that promotes food safety.

Wenther’s plan would require restaurants and food service establishments to cook all ground beef to at least 160 degrees (ground beef on a kids’ menu is already required to meet this standard). Home cooks would be exempt but the hope was the requirement would rub off on them as well.

Wenther’s suggestion was endorsed by former Bush Administration Undersecretary of Agriculture for Food Safety Richard Raymond. But the Conference for Food Protection declined to send it to the Food and Drug Administration for action.

HOTH thinks adults are smart enough to decide for themselves whether to order their burgers rare.

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