January 17 2012
Government is increasingly micromanaging food producers in the name of promoting better health, particularly among children. These efforts range from prohibiting certain foods on the school lunch line, to banning toys in happy meals, to telling food manufacturers what products they can and cannot advertize.
Cereal companies appear to be a new target for more regulations and mandates. A November 2011 report released by an environmental advocacy organization warned parents of the presence of sugar in cereal. This report generated a number of dramatic headlines about children’s poor nutrition, but ignored the real facts about trends in childhood obesity and the governments’ limited ability to influence how Americans eat.
Reasonable parents understand it is their responsibility—not governments’—to make healthy choices for their children. And parents have more choices than ever before because cereal companies have responded to a variety of health concerns and dietary restrictions. When it comes to cereals, parents can now select gluten and nut-free cereals, as well as those with reduced fat, sugar and carbohydrates. In other words, parents have plenty of healthy options for their children.
Government has no business targeting one type of ingredient, or one industry, for regulation. Such efforts are bound to fail and are an inappropriate government intrusion into americans’ private lives.