December 17, 2008

Will fast foods disappear like GM and Chrysler?

The Los Angeles Times reports today decades of inaction by federal and state governments is starting to change.

It's a small wave, but it's a start in the Right direction. Of course restaurants and manufacturers object, but we can't let them stop us.

Remember the auto industry has fought for 50 years every safety and fuel efficiency standard. Now look where that industry is.

No one can visualize America without fast foods. But I can.

It may take years -- but unless that industry changes along with the tide of anti-obesity standards -- then McDonald's and Burger King and KFC may be the next American titans to fall.

Restaurants are being told to list calorie counts on their menus. Schools are banning bake sales, and cities are outlawing new fast-food restaurants in some neighborhoods.

State and local governments, concerned about the growing cost of obesity and diabetes and the ever-higher cost of healthcare, are acting more like food police. And more regulations may be ahead.

Decades of federal inaction in fighting the nation's obesity epidemic and regulating dangerous food ingredients such as artery-clogging trans fats are behind these local and state efforts, said Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The Obama administration, with large majorities in Congress and headed by a president who made healthcare a centerpiece of his campaign, could launch a new era of food regulation, he said. "The Obama administration clearly believes strongly that government has a major role to play in many arenas, including protecting the public's health."

Jacobson and other proponents of more oversight of what and how the nation eats want to see the Food and Drug Administration split into two agencies, with one focusing on food and the other on drugs and medical devices...

Yum Brands Inc., the parent of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, isn't waiting for more legislation. It plans to add product calorie information to menu boards in its company-owned restaurants nationwide and to encourage franchise owners to do the same. The company said the calorie information would be phased onto menu boards starting this year and be completed by Jan. 1, 2011.

It's a big move by one of the largest purveyors of fast food. Louisville, Ky.-based Yum franchises or owns about 20,000 U.S. restaurants. More...

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