Jewish World Review March 12, 2004 / 19 Adar, 5764
Lawsuits against fast food companies are ridiculous
The new information on the dangers of obesity should have no impact on the ridiculous lawsuits being filed against the fast food giants.
The 'sue, sue, sue' gang is already heralding a new study as supposed proof of their position. The study indicates that poor diet and lack of exercise is set to become the leading cause of death in the U.S That's important information, but has no bearing on the validity of these lawsuits.
The government is doing the right thing, running some public service announcements, paying for new obesity research. That's the way to deal with the problem, not by suing McDonald's for super sizing.
The House of Representatives today, had to pass the so-called "Cheeseburger bill," legislation to protect the fast food industry from frivolous lawsuits. Not since 'Freedom fries' has the House had to waste so much time on such a greasy, frivolous matter. And the "let us sue" supporters were doing their bests to deflect the real issues.
Professor John Banzhaf who has spearheaded many of the suits, compared the cases to the tobacco litigation last Wednesday on MSNBC. I pointed out that isn't there a difference? After all, in the tobacco cases, people were misled about what was in cigarettes. On the other hand, people should know that fast food isn't good for you.
His response to me? "Do you know how many calories are in Chicken McNuggets?"
No, I don't know exactly how many calories are in any food I order at almost any restaurants. Nor do I know exactly how much smog I inhale by living in a city, nor do I know how much more dangerous it is to ride a motorcycle than drive a car. But I know that all have risks and the rest of us should not have to pay for the chances some take or the mental lethargy of few.
When McDonald's lied about what was in its french fry oil, it had to pay and rightly so but lying is very different from not offering a warning not to overeat. These lawsuits are an embarrassment to our legal system, and an embarrassment to the people who are saying they were so dumb not to know they might get fat. They're an embarrassment to this country as well.
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