Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obesity Society's president protests menu labeling

Last month's second attempt by the New York City Board of Health to require menu labeling in chain restaurants with 15 or more locations is the subject of a suit by the New York Restaurant Association.

Okay- not surprising, you say. Of course a restaurant association would oppose the new rules--they stand to lose business if customers are actually aware of the number of calories in many of their popular menu items.

Except that the author of an affidavit in support of the restaurants' suit was filed by Dr. David B. Allison, the new president of the Obesity Society, an organization concerned with addressing obesity. The argument made by Dr. Allison is that customers may not actually reduce their calorie intake because of the information obtained via menu labeling. In fact, Allison says that they may actually increase their calorie intake with this knowledge--"by adding to the forbidden-fruit allure of high-calorie foods or by sending patrons away hungry enough that they will later gorge themselves even more," according to the NYTimes.

So if the concern is that the required menu labeling will not actually decrease business at the restaurants covered by the rules, why is the Restaurant Association suing to block the requirement? And why did they pay Dr. Allison to write the affidavit.

Obesity Society members have reacted in opposition to Allison's statement, releasing one of their own. According to the NYTimes, Allison's other industry ties have included advisory roles at Kraft, Coca-Cola and Frito-Lay.

3 comments:

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Tucker Irwin Peterson said...

Just another way in which the food industry is trying to take advantage of people, as well as increasing their profits. This will affect the working class families the most, as they will be the least likely to have enough knowledge of foodstuffs to decide by themselves which is the healthiest without the aid of those markers. If these were in place, it would at least be easier to eat healthier, if not healthy, which is still a change. Hopefully the bogus doctor will be shot down, as the organization he supposedly represents doesn't even agree with him.

Tucker Irwin Peterson

Parke Wilde said...

Let's not say "... shot down." Let's say "... asked to resign."

http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20080303_Obesity_researcher_steps_aside.html?adString=ph.business/business;!category=business;&randomOrd=030308030628