August 14, 2007
China recalls McDonald's
Which is worse: putting lead paint on toys and exposing a million children to potentially lead poisoning? Or, putting fat-laden french fries and hamburgers in the bellies of hundreds of million of children exposing them to potentially obesity, diabetes, heart disease and premature death?
Neither is a statistical certainty. No one has claimed -- yet -- their child has a learning disability from lead paint on a Mattel toy. No one has claimed -- yet -- that fast food has led to premature death for their child. In both cases people voluntarily bought the product. No one forced anyone to buy the toys or burgers. There's plenty of other options. Buyer beware, most Americans would say.
Americans demand certainty. It took nearly 100 years of proof before most Americans would accept that smoking causes cancer and premature death. We used lead paint for a 100 years before accepting that children sometimes chew on items with paint, and some children developed learning disabilities from that kind of paint. Even now the government doesn't require you to remove that lead paint around your window.
Americans have had fast food for just 50 years. And now we have an obesity problem. This blog is starting the 50-year countdown. I'm looking forward to the year 2067 when America recalls all fast food because everyone now agrees it causes obesity.
If Mattel recalled toys with lead, should China recall American fast food?