Who knows why Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB-1420, a silly law that requires chain restaurants (a.k.a. fast-food joints) to post calorie-counts of their burgers, fries, and shakes on the menu-boards. Maybe sign-makers lobbied for it?
I doubt it: Governor Schwarzenegger is a huge supporter of the nanny-state when it comes to ineffective attempts by the government to force our kids to eat healthier. Go to your local Burger King and imagine what the menu-board behind the cashiers’ counter will look like with all that text up on it.
In support of SB-1420, two scholars at the University of California, Berkeley, put on their rose-colored glasses and concluded that the law could cause California to avoid 50 million pounds of extra weight a year! That best-case scenario includes people who eat fast food seven times a week losing 5.4 pounds each. Earth to Berkeley: Someone who eats at Wendy’s seven times a week is not going to pay attention to calories listed on menu-boards.
SB-1420 is likely more about junk lawsuits than junk food. The trial lawyers have been busy developing a strategy to profit from fast food ever since an infamous New York case five years ago, when a couple of obese girls sued McDonald’s.
The suit failed, but McDonald’s settled, and so have nine other defendants in similar cases. And they have just begun: The Public Health Advocacy Institute’s 5th Conference on Public Health, Law, & Obesity met in Boston last month to discuss our “broken food system” – a term more appropriate to Darfur than America.
I can see the next junk-food lawsuit already: a class action against Jack-In-The-Box for selling a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger that’s ten calories more than what’s posted on the board.