Trans Fat in Fast Food? Who Knew?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is suing Yum Brands, operator of the KFC chain, in the District of Columbia, arguing that the restaurants are violating a D.C. consumer protection law by failing to adequately disclose the trans fat content of their food. CSPI is demanding that KFC either stop using hydrogenated vegetable fat or post prominent warnings about it at the point of sale. CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson explains, with the rhetorical restraint for which his group is famous:

Grilled, baked, or roasted chicken is a healthy food--and even fried chicken can be trans-fat-free. But coated in breading and fried in partially hydrogenated oil, this otherwise healthy food becomes something that can quite literally take years off your life. KFC knows this, yet it recklessly puts its customers at risk of a Kentucky Fried Coronary.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit is retired Rockville, Maryland, physician Arthur Hoyte, who "had purchased fried chicken at KFC outlets in Washington, DC, and elsewhere, not knowing that KFC fries in partially hydrogenated oil." Hoyte elaborates: "If I had known that KFC uses an unnatural frying oil, and that their food was so high in trans fat, I would have reconsidered my choices. I am bringing this suit because I want KFC to change the way it does business. And I'm doing it for my son and others' kids--so that they may have a healthier, happier, trans-fat-free future."

CSPI has a right to pressure a restaurant chain to "change the way it does business" through criticism, boycotts, and the kind of negative publicity in which the group specializes. But KFC has a right to resist that pressure, and the argument that it is concealing vital information about its products from customers like Hoyte rings hollow. It's widely known that fast food chains commonly fry their food in hydrogenated oil, and health-conscious consumers can always ask whether a particular restaurant does so. It took me a minute or two to locate a KFC nutrition guide that lists the trans fat content of every item on the menu. (Addendum: KFC says this information also is available at the point of sale.) You can always argue that nutrtional information should be more conspicuous or emphatic, but you'd have to be willfully blind to simply assume that the "trans-fat-free future" had already arrived at the local KFC.

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  • ||

    At least they not using corn syrup. No Wait, they serve soda too. KFC is a one stop death factory. :)

  • Taktix||

    I heard that knives can be sharp, and knifemakers never publicise the dangers of knife wielding on the packages.

    We should ban those and sue the knifemakers.

    Think of the children...

    P.S. I added that last line BEFORE I read that he actually does cite the protection of kids as a motivaton.

  • ||

    The irony is that it's the CSPI's own fault that fast-food chains use partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils, since they were the ones who pressured McDonalds etc to stop frying with animal fat in the first place.

  • fyodor||

    Everybody should reveal everything about ourselves in the most publicly explicit manner and until we do we are all hiding something and if anyone else finds something they don't like about what we are "hiding" in this manner they can and should sue us.

  • Dave W.||

    Maybe KFC should have looked into the health effects of trans fats more b4 switching to it.

    The food industry as a whole did us a nasty by slipping trans fats into our diets without safety testing first.

    I don't think KFC is a particularly sympathetic defendant, but there is a certain unfairness in singling them out for correction. Maybe it is time that the FDA start treating new food ingredients like new drugs.

    Between olestra, HFCS, and transfat, I am not particularly impressed with the "advances" the food industry has made during my adult years.

  • ||

    The latest from our friends at NATURE.
    http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060612/full/060612-1.html

    Far more interesting to libertarians... this one involves attempts to change the law.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060614/ap_on_he_me/ama_requiring_insurance_1

  • ||

    Perhaps the doctor's patients should sue him if they develop a disease or other ailment via lifestyle choices the doctor never warned them about.

    Seems about as reasonable to me as a doctor suing a fast food outlet because he was ignorant that fast food is unhealthy. What a scumbag.

    I want to be a juror on that case so I can engage in jury nullification.

  • Dave W.||

    hiding something

    way to satnd up for the individuals right to hide things in the food.

    I would hate to satrt up some kind of system where an individual walks into a restaurant and assumes she can get food that is no worse for her than it was the week before. Individuals should be negotiating ingredients at the counter at the time of purchase and they should realize that they need to do this for every transaction.

    the lines will move slower but the intellectual rigor is the real beuty of this model.

  • Fretful Physicist||

    Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as a genetically engineered product or other dangers we have not yet thought of.

  • ||

    Why am I not surprised to see Dave W siding with the Center for Junk Science in the Lawyers' Interest?

    Dave, if anyone was under the impression that eating at KFC was a healthy choice, then they are themselves culpable for their own ignorance.

    A decent judge would toss this lawsuit out so hard it bounces; a decent legal system would allow him to toss the lawyers involved so hard they splattered.

  • Timothy||

    Dave, you're making me want a drink and it's before noon. I'm filing suit.

  • ||

    It's widely known that fast food chains commonly fry their food in hydrogenated oil, and health-conscious consumers can always ask whether a particular restaurant does so.

    I don't know if it really is "widely known", nor if most fast food consumers even know what hydrogenated oil is or any of the health concerns associated with them.

    But that doesn't make it the fault / responsibility of KFC, and this lawsuit seems qutie frivilous and nothing more than a publicity stunt.

  • ||

    Individuals should be negotiating ingredients at the counter at the time of purchase and they should realize that they need to do this for every transaction.

    Okay, now I think Dave must be kidding.

  • ||

    Individuals should be negotiating ingredients at the counter at the time of purchase and they should realize that they need to do this for every transaction.

    Okay, now I think Dave must be kidding.

  • ||

    Individuals should be negotiating ingredients at the counter at the time of purchase and they should realize that they need to do this for every transaction.

    Okay, now I think Dave must be kidding.

  • ||

    I spent a good part of my youth in Maryland, and I'd bet that even the dullest knives in the drawer know that fried chicken means bad fat.

    ...they may not know it's unsightly when middle aged women lounge on their porches in a bra--but fried chicken means bad fat? I think they're clear on that.

  • ||

    I'm going to make a point of eating more fried chicken, just as an act of wanton defiance.

  • ||

    Maybe it's transfat that clogged the data channels of this travesty of a communications device that the Reason staff insists on pretending is a "server."

  • ||

    It's fried chicken for fuck's sake. Why are we even having this discussion?

  • Timothy||

    Every time Dave W posts, a junior associate gets a tort.

  • ||

    Yes, let's put busybodies at the door of every restaurant to hector patrons about their food choices. Wanta bet a lot of knuckle sandwiches get served?

  • ||

    The irony is that it's the CSPI's own fault that fast-food chains use partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils, since they were the ones who pressured McDonalds etc to stop frying with animal fat in the first place.

    I remember the uproar over frying in animal fat, and the subsequent trumpeting of McDonald's switching to vegetable oil. 20 years later, and they're suing over using the same oil that was the "healthier" substitute.

    Don't be so hard on Dave W, he just sees every choice as a potentially actionable offense that is the fault of everyone(especially thoreau)except a potential plaintiff.

  • ||

    hiding something

    I suppose I should come clean, heh. I wear socks, which could conceal the possibility of toe jam.

    For the sake of the children, someone needs to sue garment manufacturers. Don't know what I'll do come winter though.

  • ||

    What's more annoying? Eating some delicious fried poultry, and suddenly discovering it contains some mysterious substance you have never heard of called "trans" fat, or reading comments on a blog and suddenly discovering it contains "b4." Someone should have considered how irritating "b4" was before using it to replace the venerable and traditional "before."

  • Timothy||

    Yeah, damn that thoreau. His optical experiments have not found a cheap Selma Hayek watching device that allows me to watch her shower at all hours of the night from the comfort of my sofa. I'm filing suit, because if thoreau wasn't so lazy I'd have a Selma Hayek spy cam.

  • ||

    I live by a few simple rules:

    Some fats may be worse than others, but too much of any kind of fat is a bad idea.

    Some sugars may be worse than others, but too much of any kind of sugar is a bad idea.

    Too many calories from any source, even organically grown carrots and broccoli eaten raw after washing in fresh mountain spring water and served by a friendly grandmother, will make me fat.

    More exercise is better than less exercise.

    And caffeine, no matter what they tell me, is a vital nutrient that I will take up arms to defend!

    The beauty of living by these rules is that I'm automatically shielded from the worst consequences of any type of food. Because I strive to moderate my consumption of every type of food, I may not eliminate all risks but I at least substantially reduce all risks.

    Despite the many advances made by science, some of the oldest advice for healthy living remains sound: Balance your diet, exercise, enjoy fresh air and sunshine, and allow yourself one enjoyable vice, and you'll be happy and healthy.

    If you deviate from that advice you expose yourself to all sorts of risks. You may not know which risks you're exposing yourself to, and so you can always sue over that, but you know that you're at risk from something.

    I don't know what else to say.

  • Dave W.||

    Dave, if anyone was under the impression that eating at KFC was a healthy choice

    There is a difference between driving at 85 mph on the freeway and driving 125 mph on the freeway. It wasn't very nice of the food industry to recalibrate the spedometer without telling us.

    "Risk" is a relative term, not a Boolean variable.

  • ||

    Some fats may be worse than others, but too much of any kind of fat is a bad idea.

    It doesn't matter. As a scientist, you are obligated to tell me which kind of fat is the least-bad, so I can maximize my enjoyment by eating lots and lots of it without having to worry about fat.

    Some sugars may be worse than others, but too much of any kind of sugar is a bad idea.

    See above.

    Too many calories from any source, even organically grown carrots and broccoli eaten raw after washing in fresh mountain spring water and served by a friendly grandmother, will make me fat.

    Again.

    More exercise is better than less exercise.

    It doesn't matter--as a scientist you have the obligation to discover a type of exercise that will give me the body of a chiseled goddess in only five minutes a day. And I mean a day--one single, solitary day. If people have to exercise anymore than that it'll hurt the economy.

  • ||

    Maybe it is time that the FDA start treating new food ingredients like new drugs.

    Yeah, that will work.

  • ||

    Sounds like the advice of an unmotivated optics professor to me!

    I propose a Dave W amendment to the constitution.

    The average citizen being unable to engage in moderation or research, Congess shall allow no food ingredient to be sold or consumed until several generations worth of data have proven it safe in every quantity for every citizen.

  • Luv and marriage, luv and marr||

    every restaurant

    With monopsony power comes monopsony responsibility.

  • ||

    I'd like to opt out of the nanny state. I don't mean that I necessarily oppose all regulation, but if there's some risky product out there that is disclosed and/or known as risky, then it's my own danged business whether I indulge in such a product.

    I think the Salma Hayek Spy Camera would be a dangerous device, for instance. For a variety of reasons.

  • ||

    There is a difference between driving at 85 mph on the freeway and driving 125 mph on the freeway. It wasn't very nice of the food industry to recalibrate the spedometer without telling us.

    Actually, it's more like the difference between a car capable of going 85 and one capable of going 125. If KFC fries its chicken in the world's healthiest fat, it's still bad for your health in you eat it every day. And even if transfat is as scary as they say, it still won't hurt you if KFC jaunts are a rarity.

    Anybody dumb enough to eat fried fast food with the expectation that they're getting a health-boost is too stupid to be worth worrying about.

  • ||

    Maybe it is time that the FDA start treating new food ingredients like new drugs.

    That way people can argue whether an ingredient might have an negative moral outcome, like increased gluttony, or increased thinness leading to more non-reproductive sex. :)

  • ||

    Does KFC have those nutrition facts sheets like other fast food places? If they do, it would be very difficult to complain that they are sneaking trans-fats past you.

    Also, since eating fried chicken can "quite literally take years off your life," should I start writing my will after having a KFC fried chicken breast a couple months ago at a party?

  • ||

    Ammonium-

    KFC can indeed take years off your life. One of my uncles lived a monastic existence for many years, swearing off modern conveniences, eating a lean vegan diet, and meditating a lot. But one day we persuaded him to try some KFC. He took one bite and then had a heart attack.

    Exactly two years later, his monastery was destroyed in an earthquake.

  • Wild Pegasus||

    I heartily recommend a return to frying with animal fat. Humans (and our prior ancestors) have been eating animal fat for millions of years. By contrast, margarine, vegetable shortening, and most of the vegetable oils (olive being an exception) are very new to the human diet and do nasty things to the human system.

    Eat more roasted, grilled, and baked chicken than fried, but do your frying in lard (or suet, for the kosher/halal among us).

    - Josh

  • ||

    The real issue in my uncle's story is whether we should sue the construction engineers who designed his monastery, or sue KFC, or sue both.

    (And, for the record, the story is totally made up.)

  • ||

    A variant of this same story is posted here once a month and the same people respond with the same arguments every time. This theme should come with some sort of expiration date.

  • ||

    There is a difference between driving at 85 mph on the freeway and driving 125 mph on the freeway.

    Yeah. One's a lot more fun.

    It wasn't very nice of the food industry to recalibrate the spedometer without telling us.

    Anyone who relies on their speedometer to tell them what a safe (not be confused with legal) speed is, deserves whatever happens to them.

  • ||

    "Grilled, baked or roasted chicken is a healthy food"

    So says the Executive Director of CSPI. Surely, if the ED says this, it MUST be true. I think I'll go out and feed this food to my kids, based on his learned advice.

    But....wait! Roasted, and especially grilled, meat contains polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been scientifically proven to be powerful carcinogens! This 'expert', who in my ignorance I trust completely to keep me safe, is telling me to feed me and my kids toxic chemicals! And, if I'm following his advice, surely millions of others are also! SUE! SUE! SUE!!! Bring on the class action lawyers ASAP!

  • ||

    So, Dave W, I guess the solution is to set a "speed limit" on food, analogous to that which the nanny state imposes on freeways?

    Pretty hard to keep a fast-food franchise alive on baby carrots and celery sticks.

  • ||

    propose a Dave W amendment to the constitution

    My actual proposals about what to do about the FDA are provided at these 2 thds.

    http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2006/03/patients_beg_fd.shtml

    http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2006/01/sunblock_blocke.shtml

    You will find that my views are a lot more libertarian than the amendment you propose.

  • ||

    Dave-

    Serious question. What if every restaurant posted a sign saying "We do not know the full possible risks of regular consumption of this food. Consume as you see fit, assuming all risks."

    Would that be OK for you?

  • Captain Holly||

    Maybe it is time that the FDA start treating new food ingredients like new drugs.

    What's worse is if they start treating new food ingredient like cigarettes...

    Hell, they're already comparing baby formula to cigarettes...

    http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,640186858,00.html

  • Kara||

    Coming closely on its heels is the gov. thinking about putting warning labels on baby formula because all women (no matter how they feel about it) must breastfeed for 6 months.

    Those that know better now are saying bottle feeding is the same as smoking during pregnancy.

    We cant have that now can we!? I suppose taxes will have to be raised on baby formula.

    Oh...btw...no one eats fast food to eat healthy

  • Dave W.||

    So, Dave W, I guess the solution is to set a "speed limit" on food, analogous to that which the nanny state imposes on freeways?

    For the reason RCD points out we need to get rid of the speed limit on freeways and put them instead on the foods.

  • Dave W.||

    Besides, I didn't say that KFC should be doing something analogous to setting a speed limit on a road, or designing a vehicle to have some maximum speed.

    What I said was KFC shouldn't do something that amounts to fucking with the spedometer.

  • ||

    What I said was KFC shouldn't do something that amounts to fucking with the spedometer.

    They didn't. Please show me one example where KFC said anything along the lines of "our fried chicken is a health food, and will make you skinny and lower your cholesterol."

    I am going out to KFC right now. I have this sudden urge for some original recipe drumsticks. I'll let y'all know if I collapse into a heart attack or stroke.

  • Dave W.||

    Would that be OK for you?

    No, I want a bit more than that. Like I said, my ideas on this are set forth more fully ay the two previous HnR thds I linked upthd.

    I think customers need to know on an ingredient by ingrediant basis what food ingredients have been tested. This "testing," in the food context could presumably be either by centuries of experience (for old ingredients) or else by lab testing (for new ingredients). That would be the main tweak involved in applying my previously proposed druglaw regime to foods.

  • Captain Holly||

    I am going out to KFC right now. I have this sudden urge for some original recipe drumsticks.

    Me, I've been itching to try that decadent new chicken-mashed potatoes-corn-gravy-cheese casserole they've been advertising.

    Provided, of course, it doesn't contain any trans fats or HFCS. Got to watch my weight, you know.

  • ||

    Where did KFC "fuck with the spedometer", Dave? Since when was KFC ever healthy?

  • Dave W.||

    "what ingredients have benn tested"

    should be:

    --what ingredients have been tested and what ingredients have not been tested--

  • ||

    How come no one has talked about the hormones and drugs pumped into chickens before KFC even starts frying them in trans fats?

    (I'm adding this because I think this thread can easily reach the 100 comment mark)

    Hey! A spork with no warning label... where's my lawyer?!

  • Dave W.||

    Since when was KFC ever healthy?

    what part of "risk is not a Boolean variable" do you ppl fail to understand?

  • ||

    Dave W.:

    "I think customers need to know on an ingredient by ingrediant basis what food ingredients have been tested. This "testing," in the food context could presumably be either by centuries of experience (for old ingredients) or else by lab testing (for new ingredients). That would be the main tweak involved in applying my previously proposed druglaw regime to foods."



    A) How about this: if you care about ingredient listings alot, then you are free to boycott any restaurant that doesn't post them. So is anyone else. Shit, I'd LOVE it if KFC made uber-healthy chicken that tasted good, but they don't, so I don't eat there. Should I be able to force them to make healthy/delicious chicken? Or should I just boycott them?

    B) Who would pay for this "testing", Dave? Which restaurants would be forced to get it done? What about mom-n-pops that serve different dishes all the time? Do you realize how cost-prohibitive this is to everyone except huge chains? Oh, but who cares. Shut down all the independent restaurants with your little testing requirements, so that my dining options are "Applebees" or "Chilis".

  • ||

    I think customers need to know on an ingredient by ingrediant basis what food ingredients have been tested. This "testing," in the food context could presumably be either by centuries of experience (for old ingredients) or else by lab testing (for new ingredients)

    What if nothing has been tested and customers are told that?

    Besides, what do you mean by "testing"? If you want to know whether consuming a particular food in particular quantities on a regular basis increases your odds of getting [insert disease here], that isn't always an easy question to answer. It isn't always easy to get the right data set for comparisons, or filter out other confounding variables. Sometimes studies come to conclusions (one way or the other) that later turn out to be wrong.


    Say a restaurant posted a sign saying "We haven't done any studies to see if long-term consumption of this food can lead to negative outcomes. Eat at your own risk." What would you say?

    Bottom line: What if customers waived their right to sue, either explicitly (complete with witnesses to the signature, if you like) or implicitly (by ordering even after being told that no studies have been done by management)? Is that OK?

  • ||

    thoreau:

    No, because assumption of risk is an outdated concept. If they offer it to you in exchange for money, they have to make sure you won't be allergic to it, won't use it too often, and won't put it on your head. You have to be able to use it safely while driving, and preferably while juggling too. It can't be appealing to kids in any way, because there is nothing worse than an "attractive nuisance". Your granny has to be able to open it with her arthritis but your nephew shouldn't be able to open it at all.

    Of paramount importance is the idea that every element involved in its consruction must be fully tested in every chemically possible configuration with every other element to make sure that there are no negative consequences for you when you ingest 10X your body weight's worth of each potential compound. If we don't do this kind of testing, consumers don't know what they are eating! Consumers have a right to know!

  • Dave W.||

    then you are free to boycott any restaurant that doesn't post them.

    with monopsony power comes monopsony responsibility.

  • ||

    This has nothing to do with whether or not it's a boolean variable, Dave. It has to do with your assertion that KFC is "hiding something" by not fervently and thoroughly scouring their ingredients for possible risks.

    And, according to the links above, they DO list it. At POS and their website.

    If you go here, KFC even has a spiffy little calculator, where you put together a virtual meal, and it tells you all the nutrition stats, INCLUDING TRANS FAT CONTENT.

    So, um, Dave, I think that officially means that you have to shut the fuck up. Sorry.

  • Dave W.||

    Like I said in the previous thds: that'd be cool. It should be expressed in the available consumer info with a certain amount of clarity and prominence, but it would be cool.

    btw, I developed these ideas largely in the context of a post here about some terminally ill person who was denied access to experimental drugs. If I were in that unfortunate position, I would probably readily ingest untested substances.

    Other, I am sure, would be even less risk averse.

  • Timothy||

    Methinks Dave does not know the difference between monopoly and monopsony. Also, that neither is true in the case of restaurants.

  • ||

    KFC is in a market characterized by monopsony?

  • ||

    "with monopsony power comes monopsony responsibility."

    What a lazy, lazy response, Dave. Get off your ass and work for your cause! According to your cute little quip, I could say that KFC has the "responsibility" to give away chicken for free. ANd who could refute me!? After all, "with monopsony power comes monopsony responsibility." Lazy, lazy, lazy. That's not logic, that's not even a coherent thought process. It's a catch phrase with almost no meaning outside of your mind.

  • Timothy||

    Dave is apparently the only buyer of their products, which explains his moodswings.

  • ||

    I have a cunning plan. Dye all dangerous foods black. If you must eat such foods, then you assume all of the risk. Ditto cigarettes and other unhealthy things.

    Paint it black.

  • Captain Holly||

    with monopsony power comes monopsony responsibility.

    Wasn't that the theme of the Spiderman movies?

    This does open up the possibilities of new villains for Spidey to conquer: The Colonel, an old, fat, Southern white guy who hatches an eeevil plot to poison everyone in the city with his food that has been cooked in trans fats.

  • ||

    Well, Dave, here's what will happen:

    No restaurant will test anything. They will simply print up a small brochure and make it available, and the brochure will list at most a few calorie counts and other easily computed data. There will be a statement that they have not tested any of their ingredients for long-term health effects but they strive to use the freshest, highest-quality ingredients in all of their food. There will be a statement saying that moderation in the consumption of any food is A Good Thing, and that an active lifestyle with adequate exercise is always A Good Thing. Then there will be whatever other language their lawyers tell them to put in there, written in the smallest available font size. There will probably be an attractive photo of their food, taken by a professional photographer, on the cover of the brochure.

    This will be made available. It will have little to no useful information, but it will immunize them against lawsuits. The only real beneficiaries will be graphic designers like mediageek, and whatever lawyer collected a small fee for reading and reviewing the contents.

    People will go on eating what they want.

    Satisfied?

  • ||

    FYI, friends: "The World's Smallest Political Quiz" just popped up on Reddit at like #6!

  • Paul||

    As the executive director of The Center for Good Things that People Want, I am appalled by the actions of the Center For "Science" in the "Public Interest".
    As a counter measure, we at our next board meeting will be discussing a system where everytime groups like CSPI file lawsuits, we will file a response lawsuit directed at CSPI which will contend that they are violating and interfering with the consumers right to choose.

  • fyodor||

    Dave W,

    Giving you every benefit of the doubt possible, this is like changing the speed of the "non-health food" car from 85 mph to 86 and a half. No one's going to die tomorrow or even in the next month or year because of trans fats. If they're every bit as bad as you think they might be, then eating KFC every day of your life may give you cancer in 15 years instead of a heart attack in 25. Maybe. If you eat it every day of the year. Wise and concerned consumers will do their research ahead of time and make their choices accordingly. And those who don't will face the consquences of that decision, pro and con. Trans fat is hardly arsenic.

  • ||

    It somehow seems inefficient for the most paranoid among us to determine overall market configuration. Some kook or competitor decides silicone causes cancer, and there you go.

    I'd rather we maintain a more strict concept of negligence, thanks, if for no other reason than I'm unconvinced that we would be better off not having an industrial revolution until such time as we could prove no harm from any product could potentially result.

  • Dave W.||

    not fervently and thoroughly scouring their ingredients for possible risks.

    I remember part of the switch to transfats because the local Hardee's restaurants were really pushing that as a health boon.

    Despite being kind of young and not having gone to lawr skool yet, I did not for a second believe that the new oil made fries more healthy. What I did believe is that the new oil had been tested to the extent that Hardee's was confident that the new oil wasn't substantially worse than the previous oils.

    I don't think I was alone in this misconception. It is time that we as a society stop tricking people like this.

    As far as that grow your own food and start your own restaurant crap I am already getting on this thd, here is another story from when I was about 15 years old.

    In English class, the English teacher had occasion to explain to a class what a libertarian was. IIRC, he did a fairly decent job. Part of his explanation was that libertarians had something of a reputation as being people who would take down all the stop signs. He explained that some people thought that was a fair characterization of libertarians, but others did not. He explained that when people thought of libertarians as sort of a fringe element, this is why they might think that way -- this taking down all the stopsigns thing. On the whole, I felt that he tried to strike a tone that was neutral as to libertarianism was a good thing or a bad thing.

    When u tell me to start my own restaurant, you are being a let's-take-down-all-the-stopsigns brand of libertarian.

  • Timothy||

    You know, the trans fats really aren't worse for you than the saturated fats in animal products used to fry things previously.

  • ||

    I just got back from KFC. Damn, this is some tasty chicken. But they have a big nutrition chart, in a brushed-brass frame, right next to the cashier; the charts are also available in pamphlet form right next to the big sign telling people with fish allergies not to eat the fish sandwiches.

    According to the chart, one Original Recipe thigh contains 360 calories, with half those calories coming from fat; 7 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, zero vitamin A, zero vitamin C, 165 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,060 milligrams of sodium.

    It seems pretty obvious to me that these numbers all add up to "this shit is NOT health food."

  • Paul||

    Without responding to anyone in particular here, it has become very, very apparent that some of us (the royal us) have become very confused between substances which cause a direct and measurable response (negative) when consumed, and substances which may (operative word, may) have an negative effect on overall health if consumed, voluntarily without restraint.

    CSPI is a group which takes this confusion and has made a very lucrative business out of it.

    Michael Jacobson is a 'tard who is not in full posession of the family brain cell at the moment, and should be ignored. Unfortunately, as long as he's got close friends at NPR and the New York Times, it'll be very very hard to ignore this idiot.

    One can only hope that like many health food nuts, Mr. Jacobson will die an early, sudden premature natural death-- and for that, we would all be eternally grateful.

  • ||

    "What I did believe is that the new oil had been tested to the extent that Hardee's was confident that the new oil wasn't substantially worse than the previous oils.

    I don't think I was alone in this misconception. It is time that we as a society stop tricking people like this."

    This speaks more to your naivete than anything else Dave. In particular, the notion that marginal differences in healthiness aren't a valid variable. If taste is improved, producers might add more sugar. The producer does this to make more money. I think it is, frankly, a foolish position to say that you were tricked into eating a tastier Nutty Buddy. Your belief that the health risks of a product should be static unless you give your say so is the anomaly here. They are traded off on the margin all the time against profit, cost, increasing demand, or whatever.

  • Dave W.||

    will do their research ahead of time

    this is the type of world I am trying to foster with my proposed consumer information requirements.

    Let me continue with the stopsigns example:

    It would cost the government less tax money if, instead of putting up stopsigns they simply listed all the intersections where vehicles were required to stop at City Hall, or, if they really want to make it easy for the drivers, on a website for the town. Then drivers could consult the website b4 a trip so they would know all the intersections they needed to stop at as if there were a stopsign. You can't deny that this would be cheaper than the current nannystate approach where we use big red signs. What an insulting waste of my tax money! Big red signs like drivers are some kind of infants who need to be scared from self-destructive behavior with "Mr. Yuk" stickers!

    But, just like Jennifer caught me doing earlier today, I am being sarcastic. Of course we need stop signs. The approach to new foods I am suggesting on this thread is analogous to saying that stopsigns need to be a reasonable amount big and red. Unlike actual stopsigns, however, there would be no requirement that consumers actually stop. So maybe my proposal is amore akin to saying that advisory speed limit signs need to be a certain amoung big and a certain amount yellow.

  • ||

    "When u tell me to start my own restaurant, you are being a let's-take-down-all-the-stopsigns brand of libertarian."

    I don't know who told you to start your own restaurant, but, either way, the power of your dollar in the free market to bring about change is not to underestimated, Dave.

    Second, I hardly think that asserting that customers should not be able to make whatever demands they want and then have the government enforce that demand at gunpoint, can be fairly compared to "take down all the stopsigns!" They're not even in the same ballpark. One is simply common sense. The other is a logical conclusion of the concept of privatization.

  • ||

    I just got back from KFC. Damn, this is some tasty chicken.

    Jennifer, you are so doomed. I bet you get a letter later in the week notifying you that your life insurance has been canceled. You hellion.

  • Nuh Nuh Nuh Nineteen||

    If taste is improved, producers might add more sugar.

    Hardee's already had to tell me how much sugar was in the food. I knew I could get that info from Hardee's even at the tender, pre-lawyer age of 19.

    The additional, more important information I wanted was whether they were using a new type of sugar, different than the sugar my mama raised me on, which sugar had not been subject to testing for health risks.

  • ||

    "It would cost the government less tax money if, instead of putting up stopsigns they simply listed all the intersections where vehicles were required to stop at City Hall, or, if they really want to make it easy for the drivers, on a website for the town. Then drivers could consult the website b4 a trip so they would know all the intersections they needed to stop at as if there were a stopsign. You can't deny that this would be cheaper than the current nannystate approach where we use big red signs. What an insulting waste of my tax money! Big red signs like drivers are some kind of infants who need to be scared from self-destructive behavior with "Mr. Yuk" stickers!"

    Sarcastic or no, your cute little stopsigns example is simply inapt in this situation, Dave---because, while stop signs have a relevant place in the realm of public roads & transportation (which, it could be argued, are justifiable from a libertarian position), the same cannot be said for "the public KFC". I have no other roads to drive on...yet, I do have other places to eat. Furthermore, stopsigns protect people from OTHER people's mishaps---while nutrition facts are only about you and your own, internalized safety.

    As I said, inapt.

  • Paul||

    Jason

    I think it is, frankly, a foolish position to say that you were tricked into eating a tastier Nutty Buddy.

    You've forgotten who (or what) you're responding to. You're treading dangerously near personal responsibility, which lawyers always place in quotations.

    Realize, Jason, that you too, suffer from what's known in lawyerly terms as "personal responsibility bias".

  • Luv and Marriage||

    I just got back from KFC.

    My wife won't let me eat KFC anymore. She believes that they treat the chickens too mean.

  • ||

    "So maybe my proposal is amore akin to saying that advisory speed limit signs need to be a certain amoung big and a certain amount yellow."

    Who pays to analyze the speed, Dave. You never answered before. Still curious. Who pays for the testing? Who has to comply? All restaurants, or just the chains? And when those chains are forced to pay for more and more testing, and the price of their food goes up, who pays? Customers. All I'm saying is that those same customers should have a CHOICE over whether or not they will pay for extra testing or not---instead of having that cost thrust upon them by the government.

  • ||

    It would cost the government less tax money if, instead of putting up stopsigns they simply listed all the intersections where vehicles were required to stop at

    Dave, did you know that many Seattle neighborhoods have no stopsigns? And it works just hunkey dorey. You might wanna slooooow down on the stop sign analogy. (kind of like I do when I near an intersection in a Seattle neighborhood) It's not workin' out for ya. Try again.

  • Col. Sanders||

    I kill because I like to kill!

  • fyodor||

    Dave W,

    Poor analogy on so many levels I wouldn't know where to begin.

  • ||

    Paul,

    But the stopsign analogy helps him paint our rather common-sense arguments as fringe-looney ideas by equating the two. Good luck getting him to give it up.

  • Luv and Marriage||

    Who pays to analyze the speed

    It is an analogy Evan. Yes, you raise a valid distinction, but, lo, I find it to be a distinction without a difference.

    In the advisory speed limits example the government spends my tax money to protect me from myself. In the consumer info law I here propose, the government forces a private business to incur a cost which will be presumably passed back on to me. It all comes back to the gov't spending my money. Because I am not a lets-tear-down-stopsigns libertarian, I think there are some risks that justify such an incursion on my money.

  • ||

    Let me repeat the information which is found on an enormous chart, right next to the cashier at KFC, and so it is impossible to buy chicken without seeing this:

    one Original Recipe thigh contains 360 calories, with half those calories coming from fat; 7 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, zero vitamin A, zero vitamin C, 165 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,060 milligrams of sodium.

    KFC does not need to give any additional warnings about their food being unhealthy. And Dave needs to stop pretending that KFC and other fast-food restaurants are falsely presenting their wares as health food. Dave ALSO needs to stop pretending that there's just NO way anybody could possibly figure out that a regular diet of KFC is unhealthy.

    Furthermore, Dave needs to get over his anal-retentive insistence that if today's KFC thigh happens to have one single calorie more than the KFC thighs of yesteryear, this and this alone is to blame for any health problems suffered by anybody who's come to KFC.

  • ||

    My wife won't let me eat KFC anymore. She believes that they treat the chickens too mean.

    Ah, NOW we get to the bottom of this--Dave's not allowed to make his own food choices, so why should anybody else? Maybe we should stop arguing with Dave, and instead take up a collection to buy the poor guy some balls.

  • ||

    "In the advisory speed limits example the government spends my tax money to protect me from myself. In the consumer info law I here propose, the government forces a private business to incur a cost which will be presumably passed back on to me. It all comes back to the gov't spending my money. Because I am not a lets-tear-down-stopsigns libertarian, I think there are some risks that justify such an incursion on my money."

    First, there is quite a difference, Dave. You blew right by it, but here it is again for your use: the suggested speed signs are put there not only for your protection, but for the protection of others. On the other hand, your consumer info proposal pertains to YOUR OWN INTERNALIZED SAFETY. Secondly, if you want to drive from one end of town to the other, you have no choice but to drive on the public roads. On the other hand, KFC is NOT the only place to procure foodstuffs.

    These are important differences, not insignificant distinctions.

    Lastly, It's funny that you call yourself a libertarian.


    Jennifer, I'm with you. The poor, poor bastard.

  • ||

    So, Dave, you don't get to pick your own food. You therefore conclude that any nutritional problems you may suffer are the fault of the people who sold the food to your wife.

    I see two ways to solve this problem:

    1) The libertarian option: You start making your own food choices, and buy healthier stuff.

    2) The other option: You hope that somebody will pass a law or file a suit or issue a regulation (I just covered all three branches of gov't there, pick the one you prefer) that forces the food companies to only sell certain things, so that your wife will have no choice but to buy healthier food.

    I think Dave needs a marriage counselor, not a (pick one: judge, legislator, regulator).

  • ||

    So, Dave, you don't get to pick your own food. You therefore conclude that any nutritional problems you may suffer are the fault of the people who sold the food to your wife.

    I see two ways to solve this problem:

    1) The libertarian option: You start making your own food choices, and buy healthier stuff.

    2) The other option: You hope that somebody will pass a law or file a suit or issue a regulation (I just covered all three branches of gov't there, pick the one you prefer) that forces the food companies to only sell certain things, so that your wife will have no choice but to buy healthier food.

    I think Dave needs a marriage counselor, not a (pick one: judge, legislator, regulator).

  • Dave W.||

    It will be interesting to see what kind of havoc WAL*MART manages to wreak with the governments' organic food labelling requirements. On the bright side, President Hillary hasn't been on their board nearly as recently as Cheney ran Halliburton, so maybe there is hope in the US.

    Monopsony power without monopsony responsibility is flirting with the devil.

    enormous chart

    OMFG help, help, I am being oppressed.

  • Dave W.||

    I think Dave needs a marriage counselor

    I think she will instill good values in our child if we ever have one.

  • ||

    It will be interesting to see what kind of havoc WAL*MART manages to wreak with the governments' organic food labelling requirements.

    If wifey won't let you shop at Wal-Mart, it really won't affect you anyway.

  • ||

    "It will be interesting to see what kind of havoc WAL*MART manages to wreak with the governments' organic food labelling requirements. On the bright side, President Hillary hasn't been on their board nearly as recently as Cheney ran Halliburton, so maybe there is hope in the US.

    Monopsony power without monopsony responsibility is flirting with the devil.

    enormous chart

    OMFG help, help, I am being oppressed."



    I think the DaveWBot has a malicious virus of some kind. Wacky!!! Either that, or he's trying to obfuscate his way out of this debate with crazy non-sequitors. Equally wacky!

    I'll respond to what I could understand from that crazy rant: The "enormous chart" itself is not oppressive, Dave, it's the fact that it costs money and is being forced upon us at gunpoint. THAT is OPPRESSIVE.

    Secondly, that's the SECOND time you've trotted out that old "monopsony power" but, and it's no more coherent this time.

    Third, blathering about WalMart's foray into organic food is not going to obscure the fact that you've gotten your ass kicked here. But I DID like the ol' "they hate Hillary, so if I make a disparaging remark about her, maybe that'll score me some points" tactic. Cute.

  • ||

    I'm a paste-eating tard, and if you don't protect me from myself, I'm gonna sue your ass. While you decide how to do that, I'll be in the kitchen shaving myself with your cheese grater.

  • ||

    I'll be in the kitchen shaving myself with your cheese grater.

    Time to sue the company that made the cheese grater.

  • Dave W.||

    it really won't affect you

    If WAL*MART rewrites the standards for organic labelling then the affect of that is not limited to WAL*MART shoppers.

  • ||

    If WAL*MART rewrites the standards for organic labelling then the affect of that is not limited to WAL*MART shoppers.

    So ask your wife to make your food choices for you. It's not like she doesn't already. And those of us who think for ourselves rather than let our bedpartners do the thinking for us can eat whatever the hell we want and deal with any consequences if and when they happen.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Don't let his obfuscating ass change the subject that easily. Weasely bastard.

  • ||

    What I did believe is that the new oil had been tested to the extent that Hardee's was confident that the new oil wasn't substantially worse than the previous oils.

    Isn't that what studies were telling them at the time? That the new oil was a healthier alternative? I doubt they'd have made the switch if the current science didn't indicate it was the right move. Are companies really negligent if they base their choices on current information that's subject to change?

    Besides, if KFC switched to an oil with no trans fats today, Does anyone believe that CSPI wouldn't eventually file a different lawsuit? It seems to me that their real gripe is that people consume fried foods at all.

  • ||

    Dave, what do you think about my pamphlet idea: A small informational pamphlet that nobody will pay any attention to but whose existence protects the restaurant from liability?

    It seems like a magical talisman: Nobody actual reads it, but merely by existing it keeps all the lawyers at bay.

    If something seems like magic, that raises certain obvious questions...

    Maybe Dave will go on a quest to toss the Pamphlet into a volcano, and thereby make it possible for a brigade of lawyers from Gondor to sue KFC.

  • ||

    Evan, he's an hysterical illogical pussy-whipped fool who sincerely believes that if there's anythng he wants but cannot have, that proves the existence of either a market failure or a scientific conspiracy. Why not let his weaselly ass change the subject if he wants to? Show some compassion. Let him think at least one aspect of his life--even if it is a mere Internet argument--is something other than a cringe-inducing clusterfuck.

  • ||

    Time to sue the company that made the cheese grater.

    You owe it to society to research safer methods of grating cheese. All scientists do.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    Dave has already admitted he's fat. Very fat. And it seems that he is on a crusade to blame EVERYONE and everything but his lack of self-control and willpower for his obesity.

    Once you all realize this, you'll picture him as that war on drugs troll that shows up for every pot post.

  • ||

    Is being thin and reasonably toned oppressive to flabby people?

  • Talking With The Taxman About ||

    Let me spell it out for you Jennifer,

    Organic food standards that the government writes dictate what kind of info stores can pass to consumers in an easy to compare way. In other words, nobody has to make organic foods, but, if they choose to, then the person must jump thru certain hoops in order to use the organic label. Stores & farmers whose food does not meet the requirements are deprived of their right to use the label and, of course, a very tiny libertarian violinist plays a mournful song for their lost rights (does Sullum play violin?).

    However, if WAL*MART lobbies in this area they may change the requirements. The concern is that they will cause the requirements to relax so that they can be a low price leader in the organic food area. less requirements means cheaper to produce food can be labelled as organic. *big grin on Sullum's face here to be sure*

    So now, if my wife wants organic food that meets more rigorous requirements than the new WAL*MART inspired minimums, then she has lots of options. She can ask the checker at the produce market about the various details involved in making the food. If the first store doesn't know then she can keep visiting stores until she finds one that knows all the details. But let's get real: the store clerk isn't going to know the details at any store. She will have theoretically possible ways of finding food that meets her requirements, but little practical way if the gov't standards diverge to far from what she would like to see.

    Now WAL*MART didn't invent the tension between my wife and organic foodsuppliers as far as the organic label goes. The people who make organic foods want less stringent requirements naturally, while responsible consumers like my wife tend to want more. the government acts as arbitrater and decides how to balance the competing concerns in a way that the market can function as efficiently as possible with regard to the aggregated informational transaction costs. In normal people language, the government will try to write the organic requirement so that the requirements that most people would want to have required are required and stuff that fewer consumers would want is not required. The system is perfect for no one, but the goal is to make as close a fit as possible for the max number of consumers.

    The WAL*MART comes in with its monopsony powers (here in the form of a President who is an ex-board member). Presumably the government will then start trying to write the requirements in a way that maximizes profit for WAL*MART. Chances are, the organic label becomes useless and my wife, and other ppl like her, are reduced to trying to talk genetic engineering with the register operator.

  • Talking With The Taxman About ||

    admitted he's fat. Very fat

    I said I had a 38" waist. What the fuck?

  • ||

    Your waist is more than three feet in circumference? Yikes. Unless you're eight feet tall, you're fat. Shame on your wife and the scientific community for letting you get so enormous.

  • Talking With The Taxman About ||

    Dave, what do you think about my pamphlet idea: A small informational pamphlet that nobody will pay any attention to but whose existence protects the restaurant from liability?

    Close.

    An informational pamphlet, large enough to be clear and complete, that anybody who is interested will pay attention to, and whose existence protects the restaurant from liability so long as the representations in the pamphlet are as clear and complete as they need to be and are also true in fact.

  • ||

    Dave W.,

    Given that "organic" is a big ol' hoax anyway, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.

    Past that, it's pretty impressive that you wrote a 5-paragraph rant based on your presumptions and suspicions.

  • ||

    "Organic food standards that the government writes dictate what kind of info stores can pass to consumers in an easy to compare way."

    Let's say hypothetically that your wife wants more stringent controls than the standards prior to Walmart somehow winding up in the picture. She wants to know country of origin of every seed she eats. What is her outlet? At what point does her demand for information become unreasonable?

  • ||

    Yeah, sorry, Dave, Jennifer is right. 38 waist is very big---unless you're freakishly tall.

    So who are you going to regulate in order to curb your weight problems?

  • ||

    An informational pamphlet, large enough to be clear and complete, that anybody who is interested will pay attention to, and whose existence protects the restaurant from liability so long as the representations in the pamphlet are as clear and complete as they need to be and are also true in fact.

    Oh, you mean like the pamphlet KFC already has by its cash registers, which I quoted earlier in this thread, specifically stating how unhealthy their chicken is? Done and done. So what exactly are you bitching about, anyway?

  • ||

    as clear and complete as they need to be

    What if the restaurant owner knows nothing about the long-term risks and says so? Is that sufficiently clear and complete, given the circumstances?

    large enough to be clear and complete, that anybody who is interested will pay attention to

    Dude, I guarantee you that 99% of the people paying attention to it will be those who want to sue, and they'll be measuring sizes and distances and lighting levels and whatever else to see if it's outside the requirements and hence worthy of a suit.

    You should sneak into the restaurant, steal The Pamphlet, and toss it into a volcano. Then you can sue.

  • Dave W.||

    Jennifer,

    One day last year I said some cruel things about you I shouldn't have.

    Later I apologized twice and also acknowledge that I had done a bad thing to you on other occasions.

    A lot of time has passed since then and a lot of personal insults from you towards me have passed in that time.

    Consider that maybe we are even at this point on the insults thing at this point.

  • ||

    Jason,

    Yeah, it sure is funny that, once we become accustomed to things, we begin thinking that we have a "right" to those things. Imagine if it was 1960, and Dave and his wife were jonesin' for some "organic" food. They'd get blank stares from everyone they asked. Yet, now, today, because they're used to it, they feel that it's their "right". Blah.

  • Dave W.||

    What if the restaurant owner knows nothing about the long-term risks and says so? Is that sufficiently clear and complete, given the circumstances?

    I don't know all the details. As I suggested upthd, ingredients that have been in use for a long enuf time in a massive way should be decribed differently than foods only recently introduced to the mass market.

    I think the government should dictate what kinds of language can be used, similar to the way they dictate the contents of Jennifer's KFC's enormous chart. the pamphlet should not be an opportunity for industry lawyers to start effectively hiding risks again. the pamplet should be aimed at an average (eg, not very sophisticated consumer). The print should not be too fine. etc, etc, etc

  • Col. Sanders||

    Monopsony power without monopsony responsibility is flirting with the devil

    I'm still pissed that you don't know the difference between a monopoly and a monopsony. Look it the hell up you mouth breathing glue huffer.

  • Timothy||

    That was me.

  • Timothy||

    That was me.

  • ||

    Dave, once the regulators and lawyers and legislators and nannies have gotten together and decided on the parameters for the pamphlet, what, exactly, do you think it will accomplish?

    The number one rule for healthy eating is moderation. Everything after that is details. People who go for fast food have already decided to forgo moderation on that day. Do you really think any significant fraction of them will even look at the info, let alone make decisions based on it?

    If you don't think your proposal will have any effect, why propose it?

  • Dave W.||

    But to answer your question, T.:

    there would be a right to sell any ingredient you wanted. Ricin burger anyone?

  • Lincoln||

    Goddamnit Dave W, I choose which Hit and Run posts to read based on the number of user responses it gets. I love a good "should we be in IRAQ" or "is the death penalty ethical" debate. But your pedantic, over-lawyered, nitpicky bullshit post bumping is seriously eroding my work procrastination time.

    Read this. It will tell you everything you need to know about this subject and then maybe we can get on to a substantive debate.

  • ||

    Do you have a right to know the molecular weights of all the compounds in Cheerios? What about ionization states? How many top quarks are in there?

    I read on the internet that top quarks cause cancer ...

  • ||

    a lot of personal insults from you towards me have passed in that time.

    there would be a right to sell any ingredient you wanted. Ricin burger anyone?

    I really, really, really, really, really need to learn to be more respectful of the type of person who'd imply that KFC's method of frying chicken is equivalent to a guy selling literal and instantaneous poison in a hamburger and therefore we need to get all pissy about those vicious chicken-frying motherfuckers who are to blame for a lot of health problems hoisted upon helpless and blameless people.

    Thoreau is a lazy asshole who needs to stop dicking around with optical crap and dedicate his career to corn syrup.

  • ||

    "Oh, you mean like the pamphlet KFC already has by its cash registers, which I quoted earlier in this thread, specifically stating how unhealthy their chicken is? Done and done. So what exactly are you bitching about, anyway?"

    Even though it's already there voluntarily, it should be REQUIRED. Then Dave and his wife will be able to sleep at night.

  • ||

    Jason-

    I wonder if almonds cause cancer. They could, you know. Has anybody checked?

    Let's put a warning label on every almond: "Nobody knows whether or not this causes cancer."

    What do you think, Dave?

    OMG, I just realized something else: Has anybody checked to see if almonds cause osteoporosis? I mean, you never know. I know that people have been eating almonds for a long time, but many of them died before they became old enough to get those diseases, and they didn't have statistical databases back then to check these things. Maybe almonds have been causing osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and all sorts of other things and nobody knows it because they don't care!!!

    It's for the children...

  • ||

    Just to clarify, y'all: I really DID go to KFC today. Everything I said about the pamphlets and the fish-allergy warning signs and the enormous nutritional-information chart in the brushed-brass frame was absolutely true.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    I said I had a 38" waist. What the fuck?

    Which is fat. How much weight did you lose to get there?

  • ||

    Reading this thread has brought me to the following conclusion:

    For a guy who wants to litigate everything in the name of safety and health, DaveW sure does seem to smoke a *lot* of crack.

  • ||

    I've made this suggestion in another context, but why not set up a kind of Underwriters' Laboratory for food? It could have different types of certifications and be completely run as a private institution (either for or not-for profit). Thus, if organic food is what you want, you simply don't give the Colonel a certification for organic food. Ditto on genetically modified food. Or any other food classification. A food producer or retailer that refused to submit to inspection would likely have trouble staying in business, once the Undereaters' Laboratory caught on (just kidding about the name).

    Shoot, this could replace the whole FDA, while we're at it. Take the politics out of what we ingest? Sounds like a good idea to me. Heck, why wait for Congress to get rid of the FDA? Just beat it with a superior service.

  • ||

    Two things:

    1) 38" isn't exactly huge. It ain't great, but it ain't huge. Of course, I'm sensitive because until a few months ago I was 38". (Of course, that was a high point. In my final year of grad school I gained some weight, and only shed it a few months ago, when I decided that I can solve more equations when I take long walks. Now my jeans are quite baggy.)

    Then again, I'm also 6'2".

    2) I haven't done anything to cure diabetes today. I did, however, figure out an equation which describes a crucial aspect of the chemotactic forces that cells respond to when growing new blood vessels. (Basically, cells are attracted to growth factors, which are stimulants for cells. Cells like to get high on speed, just like organisms do.) If I'm right about the growth factors, I can explain some very recent results that have been confusing people, and maybe even fine-tune some cancer treatments.

    I'm such an uncaring bastard.

  • ||

    I've made this suggestion in another context, but why not set up a kind of Underwriters' Laboratory for food? It could have different types of certifications and be completely run as a private institution (either for or not-for profit). Thus, if organic food is what you want, you simply don't give the Colonel a certification for organic food. Ditto on genetically modified food. Or any other food classification. A food producer or retailer that refused to submit to inspection would likely have trouble staying in business, once the Undereaters' Laboratory caught on (just kidding about the name).

    Shoot, this could replace the whole FDA, while we're at it. Take the politics out of what we ingest? Sounds like a good idea to me. Heck, why wait for Congress to get rid of the FDA? Just beat it with a superior service.

    Oh, and thoreau, almonds contain cyanide. Where are the warning labels?

  • ||

    Say, I have an idea. How about a warning label for this god-forsaken server? Hmmm?

  • ||

    Say, I have an idea. How about a warning label for this god-forsaken server? Hmmm?

  • Dave W.||

    So who are you going to regulate in order to curb your weight problems?

    At the end of 2002 I had a 44 inch waist. My waist size has been steadily decreasing since then and is now at 38.

    There is no excuse for the namecalling. It just makes u guys look like a bunch of cunts.

    More on ricin:

    I was only sort of kidding about the ricin burger. here is how ricin, as a food ingredient, would work under my scheme:

    A food seller who wanted to put ricin in his food would have to determine whether ricin had been tested. he would quickly find out the ingredient was indeed tested in the Japanese subway and found to be very dangerous. So in the required food info I would make the seller have easily accessible would appear the following line:

    RICIN: Tested but only a little. Deadly poison. Almost certain chance of death soon after eating.

    Then if somebody bought the ricin burger and ate it and died, they could not sue the food seller.

    This is not a joke, this is really how I think it should work. I do not think, as a practical matter, that any food sellers would choose to put ricin in the burgers. Same reason they don't now. Bad pr.

  • Timothy||

    mg: Crack has been tested, we know what crack does. Because of this crack may well be safer than HFCS and hydrogenated vegetable oils.

    Somebody: Das squirrel is hungry.

  • ||

    I did, however, figure out an equation which describes a crucial aspect of the chemotactic forces that cells respond to when growing new blood vessels.



    Wicked cool, thoreau.

    What have you done today, Dave W, other than make a bunch of lame-ass arguments to attempt to justify more torts by people who really just want us all to no longer have access to fast food?

    (My accomplishments for the day are somewhere in between these two extremes, FWIW...)

  • ||

    Oh, and thoreau, almonds contain cyanide. Where are the warning labels?

    I knew it!

    How much you want to bet that Ron Bailey is receiving payments from Big Nuts?

    (Interpret that one however you like.)

  • ||

    Just to clarify, y'all: I really DID go to KFC today.


    Did you have one of the deep fried pies(turnovers)? They are the only chain that still has those and they're two for 99 cents. Trans fats and mouth- blistering apple filling probably made with corn syrup. Yum!

    ARRGGH! My chest!

  • Timothy||

    McD's no longer has the fried pies? Dang.

  • ||

    I'm going to tsk. The question about waist size is not really relevant and is in bad taste.

  • ||

    Somebody: Das squirrel is hungry.

    Just don't feed the squirrel anything with fructose.


    Clean hands-

    Yeah, but I didn't do anything to figure out the optimum diet. So clearly I don't care about sick people.

  • ||

    McD's no longer has the fried pies? Dang.

    Apparently, like Coca-Cola with cane sugar, McDonald's fried pies are served in other countries. Just not here in the past 15-20 years.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    At the end of 2002 I had a 44 inch waist. My waist size has been steadily decreasing since then and is now at 38.

    Right. You're fat, you blame others. We get it, Juanita.

  • Timothy||

    Maybe it isn't Dave's fault he's fat, his wife does all the shopping, maybe she's a chubby chaser. This is angle that needs to be investigated, somebody alert Ken Starr.

  • Timothy||

    Maybe it isn't Dave's fault he's fat, his wife does all the shopping, maybe she's a chubby chaser. This is an angle that needs to be investigated, somebody alert Ken Starr.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    I'm going to tsk. The question about waist size is not really relevant and is in bad taste.

    No, it's not. It goes towards his stance on this.

  • ||

    Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.

    Dave, I, for one, will congratulate you on your weight loss. Beats not doing anything about it. Otherwise, of course, I must join the others in oppressing you :)

  • ||

    Dave-

    You admirably lost a significant amount of weight without the benefit of any of the policies that you are proposing.

    Reflect on that for a moment, and then tell us if you've changed your mind about anything.

  • ||

    ZZZZiiiing!

  • ||

    Some misinformation in this thread.

    The pamplet at KFC is not voluntary, it is required by law food that weand must include trans fat as of 2006.

    Trans Fat would be included under Dave W's rubric for foods "that have been in use for a long enuf time in a massive way" Trans Fats are the result of a process that has been around since 1902 (at least). Crisco, a good source of Trans Fat, is one of the traditional food items that Dave W's grandmother used to make her biscuits taste so yummy, in all liklihood. (Particularly if she spread margarine on top of them... the other best source of transfat).

    When the switch from animal fat to trans fat was made, the best testing indicated that it was the healthier choice. The refutation of that came in 1997
    (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9366580&dopt=Citation)

    The results of this study and others, along with various lawsuits against the fast-food industry have resulted in the very regulations that Dave W is arguing for, at least in regards to Trans Fat.

    The frivolousness of the KFC lawsuit results from the fact that the information was already available, by law.

    The types of testing that Dave W. wants are already conducted regularly... this is how we find these things out. Some of this is government funded, some private.

    Organic food labeling options include many private organizations that are much stricter than the Fed requirement. Look for those labels and you don't need to worry about Walmart's coercion. Much like the Fair-trade movement, the organic food movement is a largely libertarian, grass-roots movement to inform without government intervention. (And strangely, both come from people that are on the left...hmmm).

  • Robert||

    Maybe it is time that the FDA start treating new food ingredients like new drugs.

    Maybe I'm irony-challenged, but...they do.

  • ||

    ...chubby chaser

    Didn't he do "The Twist"?

    Anyway, after reading most of the posts, I decided to go to Popeyes and get some chicken strips. This way, I can join Dave's bullshit class action suit in a couple years. Figure I'll make $6.25 out of the $2 million or so big chicken pays him to take a flying leap and quit bothering them.

  • ||

    "Much like the Fair-trade movement, the organic food movement is a largely libertarian, grass-roots movement to inform without government intervention. (And strangely, both come from people that are on the left...hmmm)."

    Yeah, because there's nothing quite like jacking the price of a product up in order to pay a middleman who manages everything for the farmers.

  • Paul||

    You can always tell when something dumb has occurred (and what better origin of dumbness, than CSPI?) when a post gets 159 (and counting) posts...

  • ||

    I have this feeling that the "without government intervention" aspects of the fair trade and organic movements has more to do with not having the electoral clout to pass a law than any sense of ideology.

  • ||

    LOL Mediageek.

    You clearly know nothing of the Fair Trade movement.
    It is a voluntary association of free individuals who work together within the market to meet what they see as a market need. I don't know how much more libertarian you can get.

    Here's the propoganda.
    http://www.fairtradefederation.org/

  • Fretful Physicist||

    Trans Fat would be included under Dave W's rubric for foods "that have been in use for a long enuf time in a massive way" Trans Fats are the result of a process that has been around since 1902 (at least). Crisco, a good source of Trans Fat, is one of the traditional food items that Dave W's grandmother used to make her biscuits taste so yummy, in all liklihood. (Particularly if she spread margarine on top of them... the other best source of transfat).

    Thanks MSM, your info appears to be correct and I did not know it.

    It does suggest a tweak to my proposed scheme outlined above and at the linked threads. The tweak:

    even for foods "that have been in use for a long enuf time in a massive way," if some new negative testing arises, then those test results should be disclosed. As far as what I mean by "diclosed" here, see my suggested Ricin warning above. Obviously trans fat would not get the same designation as ricin, but the disclosure should be similarly clear & understandable.

  • Paul||

    You admirably lost a significant amount of weight without the benefit of any of the policies that you are proposing.

    Reflect on that for a moment, and then tell us if you've changed your mind about anything.

    thoreau,

    Your point, while succinct, is likely to fall flat, and the irony never noted.

    This whole 'Big Food/Obesity epidemic' craze that's sweeping the nation is a perfect pitri dish to view this phenomenon.

    It would take a battery of top psychologists to understand and postulate as to why someone can discuss their ability to overcome some kind of societal dysfunction placed upon them all by themselves, while in the same breathless diatribe demand that the government create polcies to terminate said dysfunction (by limiting choices, natch) and creating useless regulatory red tape.

    It's about emotions, and it's always about other people.

  • ||

    Jason,
    I am disappointed in your reactionary reaction. You usually think better than that. Libertarian, non-coercive tactics are a large part of the Green movement from which Fair Trade emerged. Distributed bottom-up solutions are at the basis of the "Think Global, act local" philosophy. Using market forces to change markets is a deliberate tactic, and deliberately non-governmental. These people see government-capitalist collusion as the problem.

    Just cuz someone's a hippy in your book doesn't make them statist.

  • Dave W.||

    if some new negative testing arises . . . trans fat

    On 2d thought, I am not sure anything new & dramatic enuf has been discovered about transfat that would require any special warnings under my scheme.

    As I have said repeatedly, I am not too anxious to mess around in the area of foods that are the same as when my grandmother cooked for my mother, and trans fat is one of those ingredients (unless they changed the trans fat in the past couple of decades -- I am not sure how chemically specific the trans fat descriptor really is).

    I get the sense that the food industry itself is scared of trans fat, and I wonder what put them in such a complaisant mood on the new labelling requirements on that. I find it pretty interesting that Sullum has not been complaining about the recent labelling requirement change in regards to trans fat here in his HnR posts. Instead he has reached out to the margin of this lawsuit which looks to have some serious legal problems and may not get very far at all.

    Sometimes you get more info by paying attention to what the Reasonwriters don't say.

  • Dave W.||

    useless regulatory red tape

    this is an odd way to characterize mandatory food labelling. I know a lot of people who pay a lot of attention to food labels and always have going back at least to the late 70s.

    Here on these threads ppl have exhorted me to count calories (like I haven't been duuuuh). Food labels have been very helpful in following everybody's good advice. Not useless.

  • ||

    Dave W.

    In case you missed my last post on the corn syrup thread... there is a RTC meta-analysis abstract posted there that provides scientific support for the basic advice of making life-style changes, rather than sweating the small stuff (like which ingredients are in the food). The basic results are a 50% reduction in the 1 year risk of developing diabetes among those at high-risk using life-style education.

  • ||

    So, Dave W, are you saying that the Center for Junk Science in the Lawyers' Interest actually is full of shit on this one? Or are you trying to make some sort of cryto-foodnazi comment about the motivations of reason's writers?

    If only you could write in clear English - but, I forget, you went to law school. I guess they beat it out of you there.

  • Timothy||

    CH: No, I think it's that Dave's foreign.

  • The Honorable Judge Soupnazi||

    So, Dave W, are you saying that the Center for Junk Science in the Lawyers' Interest actually is full of shit on this one?

    I dunno. If the plaintiff is alleging some decent harm and some kind of decent nexus between his harm and the actions of KFC (medium sized "ifs"), then I say let the suit go thru discovery and let's see how much more KFC knew about the dangers of trans fat than the public at large did.

    At the end of discovery the plaintiff had better be able to show some evidence of actual harm, some evidence of a nexus between that harm and KFC and some evidence to show that KFC had some superior knowledge about the harm in trans fat. Otherwise summary judgement: KFC. No soup for you, plaintiff.

  • ||

    jury nullification doesn't work that well in lawsuits. cause unlike a criminal trial, a lawsuit does not require a unanimous jury verdict

    just a quick guerilla posting

    carry on

  • ||

    Please stop f%^&*ing with the taste of my fast food. First it's changing french fry oil to taste like crap. Now messing with my fried chicken. Just Stop. If you are a lazy unhealthy fatass who cant handle some grease, dont eat it. A healthy guy like me enjoys having a couple breasts, some biscuits and mashed potatoes from time to time.

  • Dave W.||

    a [civil] lawsuit does not require a unanimous jury verdict

    they also tend to do a better job screening out the clueless.

  • ||

    Just cuz someone's a hippy in your book doesn't make them statist.

    Hippy.

  • ||

    I don't know if Jason automatically considers every hippy a statist.

    But he has interesting stories about his "anarchist" sister...

  • ||

    In case you missed my last post on the corn syrup thread... there is a RTC meta-analysis abstract posted there that provides scientific support for the basic advice of making life-style changes, rather than sweating the small stuff (like which ingredients are in the food). The basic results are a 50% reduction in the 1 year risk of developing diabetes among those at high-risk using life-style education.

    PWNED!!!!!

  • ||

    MSM:

    I'm open that I could be wrong here. As I try to identify the source of my skepticism about both fair trade and organic movements as apolitical, I come up with the following:

    Fair Trade was a plank in the Democrat platform specifically proposed as a public policy replacement for Free Trade.

    There is a distinct movement on the part of those who self identify as organic consumers to enforce labeling of 'frankenfoods' and lobbied CA to actually ban them. It is the whole Rifkin crowd. What is that group? The Center for Food Safety or some such. They are statists.

  • ||

    Dave the Center for Junk Science in the Lawyers' Interest cannot honestly think that this garbage lawsuit will survive discovery. Your "medium-sized ifs" are both bogus.

    Their whole reason for filing it is to be able to have a press conference, thereby putting all kinds of pressure on KFC and other fast-food purveyors to toe their narrow ideological line.

    That's why this action is so offensive, and why it's getting coverage by reason writers -- it's an attempt to effect regulation without all of that pesky legislation and real scientific investigation.

    If the judge were able to (and realistically would) turn to the Center for Junk Science in the Lawyers' Interst and award damages to KFC not only for having to defend themselves against this nonsense, but also compensation for the damage to their sales and reputation, I suppose I wouldn't be so troubled at your cavalier suggestion that this should just go through discovery.

    KFC is damaged right now by the filing of this suit, and they'll never collect for those damages.

  • Dave W.||

    the small stuff

    you are assuming there is a small difference diabetes-wise between sucrose and hfcs. I suspect the truth is otherwise.

    It is also worth noting that one of the links posted yesterday effectively recommended that diabetic people use sucrose preferably over HFCS.

    Although as you guys know I have been making significant strides in my own health -- I don't think ingredient changes in the food should require everybody to go thru this rigamarole.

    It is hard enuf to stay healthy as it is. the food industry does not need to do things to make the challenge more difficult for the average person.

  • Paul||

    useless regulatory red tape

    this is an odd way to characterize mandatory food labelling. I know a lot of people who pay a lot of attention to food labels and always have going back at least to the late 70s.

    While this thread is about the content of the food that KFC serves, this comes nowhere near food labeling on pre-packaged food containers, and really I was speaking to the broader subject of CSPI's general actions that in a sane world would be laughed out of court, but in our post-modern society end up being a Kafkaesque reality. Press releases from this organization are so completely bizarre, that one doesn't know where to begin to address them.

    But as to the useless red tape, I contend that yes, it is precisely the kind of thing that you will end up with if a nutcases like Jacobson have their way.

    If creating an agency, or subagency that monitors something like, oh, childrens programming on say, Nickelodeon to see if there is 'too much' advertising of food which is, according to Jacobson 'making our children sick', how is this not useless red tape? At minimum, it fossters the creation of useless red tape by proxy.

    Afterall, with all the food labeling and advertising curbs and what not that used NOT to exist, why then, do we have this so-called "obesity epidemic"?

    Y'see, it really goes back to the confusion (mentioned above by yours truly) about poisonous substances which cause a measurable physiological reaction, and food substances which may (or may not) CONTRIBUTE to unhealthful conditions if consumed without restraint. CSPI has (yeah, I'm repeating myself now) capitalized on this confusion and makes boatloads of cash from it.

    Its Jacobson et. al. who have chosen the terms of the debate, I merely respond to it. The only poison around here is Michael Jacobson and his little band of self-described "food police". A more accurate description would be "the food brownshirts".

    "Nickelodeon and Kellogg engage in business practices that literally sicken our children" --executive director [CSPI]Michael F. Jacobson.

  • Dave W.||

    Your "medium-sized ifs" are both bogus.

    If so then judgment on the pleadings under FRCP 12. Under this scenario KFC would be out what? 50,000 smackers tops and no documents would need be disgorged. Some good pr, too as we would have a grand pity party for KFC.

    Maybe they would even have a colorable Rule 11 motion.

    I get the feeling some of the crybabies don't understand how litigation really works.

  • ||

    I get the feeling some scumball tort lawyers have no more sense of responsibility over the damage they cause than has a baby over te contents of his diapers.

    Not that we know anybody like that...

  • ||

    "You are assuming..."

    No, actually, the data suggest this.

    You didn't follow enough of those references. But you now have the resources available to find the information... so it is up to you to read more about the topic.

    "one of the links" and at least one recommended the opposite. The reason, cuz the differences are orthogonal. One has a lower glycemic index--Fructose, so it gets recommended by those that think this is the key. The other has a more predictible impact on other metabolic factors (e.g., plasma lipids)--Sucrose, so it gets recommended by those that think this is more important.

    But the epidemiological results are clear that it is the lifestyle changes that make measurable differences in your chances of developing diabetes.

  • ||

    On Hippies and Statists
    A Brief Essay by Jason Ligon

    It is certainly possible to be a hippie and not be a statist. It is hard not to acknowledge that huge numbers of hippies are inclined in that direction, however.

    The line connecting hippidom with statism is parallel to the line connecting productivity with income. Hippies tend not to enjoy activities that are economically valuable, and hence tend not to have a lot of money. The observation that being notHippie pays more outside of the rarified air of the entertainment biz causes most hippies I know to seethe. Then, they pick up the Chomsky reader which explains the profound unfairness of it all in poly syllables, and it is all over.

    In my experience, hippies who find a way to pay the bills while maintaining true hippie cred don't turn out statist. Again, you have to exempt Hollywood and music from this analysis, because these types are meta hippies. They need to carry an appearance of profound hippiness so as to sell not only to hippies but to the much more plentiful middle class hippie dabbler.

  • ||

    "It is hard enuf to stay healthy"

    See Dave, the point is, it isn't that hard.

  • Dave W.||

    Or I should say: KFC's business insurer will be out $50,000.

    Now, $50,000 is $50,000 whether KFC pays or their carrier pays. But this does mitigate considerably the ostensible unfairness in singling out KFC for a tort claim that would have been equally applicable (or unapplicable depending on your viewpoint) to any number of other monopsony league foodsellers.

  • Dave W.||

    See Dave, the point is, it isn't that hard.

    If this were a sitcom you would be getting the Freaky Friday treatment at about this point in the show MSM.

    O, what I would do with Jennifer's body for a week.

  • ||

    Dave W:

    How often a week do you jog for 30-45 minutes? Go 3 miles 4 times a week for a month, and you'll be shocked at the results. Throw in resistance training to get more persistent fatburn and you will really be shocked.

  • ||

    Hot tip for the asshole doctor: Most fast food places (and ALL of the ones I've been to) have nutritional information available at place of purchase. Or tell you how to get it.

    What I wonder is, a DOCTOR(!), used to doing research for patients (supposedly) doesn't do it for himself.

    maybe someone will sue him for malpractice because, obviously, he's clueless about medical research.

  • ||

    "Fair Trade was a plank in the Democrat platform specifically proposed as a public policy replacement for Free Trade."

    It is true that Democrats would feel Fair Trade is a better government policy than the Republican "Free Trade."

    But this no more relates to Fair Trade as a concept than Free Trade does to the protectionist policy proposals of the Republicans.

  • ||

    It is certainly possible to be a hippie and not be a statist. It is hard not to acknowledge that huge numbers of hippies are inclined in that direction, however.

    Huge numbers of just about every other demographic are inclined toward statism. See: Democrats, Republicans.

    I'm not a fan of Fair Trade Coffee, but I realize that there's a difference between that narrow brand name and the phrase "fair trade" that gets bandied about whenever somebody wants to defend protectionism. And I am open to the possibility that some Fair Trade Coffee adherents are genuinely interested in non-coercive ways to achieve their goals. I may or may not consider their way of making coffee to be the ideal one, but I'm willing to believe that some of the people behind it want to bring about their goals non-coercively.

  • ||

    Here's a picture of a hippy who isn't a statist:

    The hippy in this picture the Vermont delegation at the 2000 LP Convention.

  • ||

    "But this no more relates to Fair Trade as a concept than Free Trade does to the protectionist policy proposals of the Republicans."

    Ehhh ...

    I dunno MSM. I may be hopelessly broken by being first introduced to fair trade as a political concept, and then having 100% of subsequent interaction with fair trade advocates that I've met or argued with propose that government intervention is necessary to counteract the seduction of low prices. Then there is the environmentalist angle.

    I want to go there with you, I see that there is nothing inherently statist about the private labeling system, and I have no problem at all with folks who only want to take it that far - I just don't buy that the movement is predominantly a political.

  • ||

    MainstreamMan,

    I have plenty of experience with the organic crowd--my Dad's got the biggest organic crop farm within several hundred miles--and unfortunately Jason's cynicism is largely correct. (Except for those just using the label to make money)they're only doing it themselves as a last resort becasue they think the world is at stake, they believe "convential" argriculture is a captial-E Evil and should be legislated out of existence.

  • ||

    "I'm a healthy guy who enjoys a couple of breasts..." mmm, don't we all, John Deer.

  • ||

    Hydroginated oil has been used in food since 1911.
    My Octogenarian grandfather grew up on Crisco (look it it up on wikipedia, dave) and he's quite healthy conisdering his age BTW

    OH! But, but... 1911 is also the year they made the pistol that fires when you bump into it!

    If only "libertarian" patent lawers ran the world. ;-)

  • Kara||

    And in a the usual manner of not minding their own business, the AMA is demanding to have warning labels on salty foods (rest. & fast food). Because it is BAD for you.

    There was a guy in my area who died 2 years ago because he went on a salt free diet.

  • Dave W.||

    If only "libertarian" patent lawers ran the world. ;-)

    Comment by: Kris at June 15, 2006 03:17 AM

    This is a good response to my 6.50 pm post. What you may have missed is that I recanted in my 7.04p post. In other words, I only went to the dark side on trans fat for 14 minutes. I am not proud of that, but it was only 14 minutes!

  • ||

    What it comes down to is that whenever there is any allegation that some food may be contaminating our precious bodily fluids, Dave W. will be there to:

    1) Accuse me of not doing anything about it.
    2) Call for a lawsuit.

  • Dave W.||

    Couple of closing notes as this one heads off the page:

    A lot of people have tried to psychoanalyze me here and decided that my concerns about diabetes and my food labelling reforms are born out of my personal struggle with my weight. While I have tried to be fairly forthcoming about my weight issues here, they are not what drives my concern. I think there is a perception about libertarians that each person can and should think only about themselves. This is not true in my case. Like I said right at the start of this thread, this is about the food industry playing fast and loose with the consumer market as a whole. I have opted out of the diabetes track in a way that some others have not; a way that some others in my family have not. The problem is not me. the problem is that I am living in a society that is increasingly diabetic. i see that as a problem, despite the fact that it is a problem I was able to vanquish in my own life. Of course, I could vanquish it in my own life. I have lots of brains and willpower. However, just because I will probably escape the diabetes monster doesn't change a thing as far as I feel about the way the food industry has been operating since about 1980.

    At this point, you are probably thinking "sure, sure. I know Dave W. better than he knows himself. I have read so many books where people relate personal struggles to political causes that that must be what Dave W. is doing here."

    Let me try to dissuade you by providing more personal history. I don't like giving personal history in this way, but it may be the only way here to convince you that you got me all wrong.

    I became interested in diabetes in 1998 because of some media coverage of the increase in juvenile diabetes. At that time my waist size was 34" as it had been for the preceding 5 years. My height is 5'11". I was not fat. Nobody in my extended family had been diagnosed with diabetes at that time, at least that I know of. Because of reading the media coverage, I did 2 things.

    One thing was I signed up for the Juvenile Diabetes walk. I had never done a charity walk b4, nor had I ever really done any disease-related charity of any kind. Although I have done no more diabetes walks, I have continued to contribue to diabetes-related charity as my charity of choice since then. My concern about diabetes clearly predates any weight problem. Those of you who assume the weight problem caused my concern about diabetes just don't know the facts. I suppose it is possible that my concern about diabetes caused my waistline to grow, but I think it was mostly unrelated overeating. My individual situation is not at all related to my opinions on diabetes. However, having family members diagnosed and hurt by diabetes had sharpened my concern and made it somewhat more personal than it was at the start in 1998. The shirt I got for walking in the walk does not fit me anymore for obvious reasons.

    The other thing is that when I first became concerned about the problem in 1998, my concern was fairly specific to juvenile diabetes. I didn't and don't think young children are that much less active than when I grew up in the 60s and 70s. To put it another way, I don't think the teevee has gotten that much better. It is promarily because juvenile (as opposed to adult) diabetes has increased that I suspect food (as opposed to lifestyle) as much as I do. Obviously both food and lifestyle are part of the picture, but I think the role of food is being systematically obfuscated by the scientific community and I think they oughtta be ashamed.

    Now that we are done with my personal life, let's move to T. Yes, I comically suggest that T. as a young professional lead a crusade to get medical researchers to get their priorities strait and devote a little less time to unsolvable problems and pie in the sky scheme, and more effort to problems that can be easily ascertained and fixed, such as "how bad is HFCS really?" I know it is not as glamorous as curing cancer, but it is probably a lot more achievable. But why should I think T. can fix this by creating a stir at his work? I don't. I do not expect T. to behave any differently in his job. he should do what he can to keep his job and not cause trouble there.

    When I coax T. to switch fields, I am posting in the same way that ppl post about me, assuming that I am an ambulance chaser or want to be one in the future because I believe in a healthy tort system and don't share the pervasive (and I might add bought and paid) for skepticism you see about it here. That may make me a fringe among libertarians, but I always just assumed ppl were joking when they said I chased ambulances. Now that I realize this stuf is meant as personally as I guess it is, I wanted to make it clear that it is fine for T. to keep his job. It may not be as honorable as everyone society-wide makes it out to be, but at least it is not dishonorable society-wide as everyone makes my job out to be.

    So waht do I really want out of T. I said it earlier in this post, but I will say it again:

    Understand that "the role of food is being systematically obfuscated by the scientific community and I think they oughtta be ashamed."

    Now I will move along to a final point. I have a concern about the food industry and diabetes and have ever since I was an average weight man. I also have significant libertarian leanings. In my own way I am more libertarian than most ppl here. I h8 concentrations of power and the government is a bigass concentration of power. This power can do harm more easly than good and is problem more likely to harm than help if they enter the diabetes fray with both feet.

    Fortunately, I think there are ways to address this problem of new food that may (or may not) be significantly more dangerous than the old food. The government doesn't have to jump in with both feet. They can address the problem with the less intrusive expedient of food labelling. A lot of food labelling is already required and it is really darn helpful. On this part I will make it personal: government mandated food labelling has helped me personally lose 50 lbs since 2002. I am glad that I could root a lot of the HFCS out of my diet by checking labels at the grocery store (trans fat was harder because there were more games with the labelling). I was glad to be able to count calories. I was glad that I knew to eat at Subway and which sandwich to get when convenience concerns dictated that I eat out. This is your government at work people: in a good way!!

    Even on this thd, ppl like Paul readily admit that food labelling is helpful, both in the supermarket and at the chain restaurant. Only Jennifer complains and even her compalints about the brass frame seem like pretty mild complaints. I think more, rather than less labelling would be helpful. I have tried to be clear and forthcoming about what kind of labelling I want. So why am I being fought tooth and nail here? U know, I know. It is because everyone is worried that gov't mandated labelling has to lead to banning foods. So everyone backs into this fundamentalist corner just llike the gun nuts do, just like fundamentalist Islamics do, just like Anne Coulter does, just like rabid Zionists do.

    Maybe there are issues where going nuclear at the drop of a hat is appropriate. Food labelling just isn't one of those issues. the labels are helpful and the slope is not that slippery. Contrary to the perceptions here, food labelling has prevented way more lawsuits than it has caused. Same reason that the warning label on cigarettes have prevented more lawsuits than it caused. If Sullum thinks the modern world is cigarete litigation hell, he should imagine the suits if they had *not* started warning back b4 I was born in '64. Similarly, while we can't know what cigarettes would be taxed at in a world without warning labels, we can be sure of one thing: they wouldn't be taxed any less.

    BOTTOM LINE: You can change your attitude about whether the food science business is good or evil and get behind food labelling without sliding to some kind of nanny state position. Consumer education is not unlibertarian and it does not have to lead any sort of prohibition.* that is, unless you make it into some kind of all or nothing struggle as you do with me. With your current attitudes, you are not helping the cause.

    FOOTNOTE
    * I still think eating dogs should be prohibited and Gillespie can suck my left one on that issue.

  • ||

    Dave W.,
    Isn't the answer to allow a market to develop for food labeling? Why do we need the government to do this? Sorry, didn't read the whole thread. Maybe this question has been answered?

  • Dave W.||

    allow a market to develop

    I thought that since I picked up my libertarian leanings in '83, until I got disenchanted with the direction the increasingly free market is moving in. In 1998 I began to see that things were going the wrong direction with food. As a patent atty I had been conditioned to get excited about Olestra. between 1998 and 2003, my disenchantment grew to the point where, no I don't think the market is working.

    As a curious libertarian I have agonized for a couple years as to why the market has decided to snub my faith like this.

    The answer is called monopsony and is the subject of the cover story of the current Harper's magazine. Highly recommended reading.

    I figured it out in 2003 when I picked up a used law school casebook on Antitrust for $1 at a used goods store in Needles, California. Reading Professor Areeda's book (just a collection of cases and related hypothertical questions -- it was not at all a political manifesto), I suddenly knew what the deal was and why progress was going in the opposite direction of what it should be.

    Food labelling is just a finger in the dike, really.

    The good news is that once the monopsony problems are recognized and solved, I believe the free market will serve society as well as it did for the balance of the 20th century when antitrust law was applied wisely, judiciously and judicially.

  • ||

    Only Jennifer complains and even her compalints about the brass frame seem like pretty mild complaints.

    Your reading comprehension skills are abysmal. At no point did I complain about the nutrition facts in the brass frame; I simply pointed out that its very existence in a KFC blows holes in the theory that there's just no way any KFC customer could possibly know that too much of their chicken is unhealthy.

  • ||

    Only Jennifer complains and even her compalints about the brass frame seem like pretty mild complaints.

    Your reading comprehension skills are abysmal. At no point did I complain about the nutrition facts in the brass frame; I simply pointed out that its very existence in a KFC blows holes in the theory that there's just no way any KFC customer could possibly know that too much of their chicken is unhealthy.

  • Dave W.||

    The answer is called monopsony and is the subject of the cover story of the current Harper's magazine. Highly recommended reading.

    Further recommended reading:

    http://tinyurl.com/nh3uo

    This book is primarily about dying small brand candybar factories, which the author toured and the entreprenurial types who run these failing factories.

    Only about a page of the book is devoted to antitrust and at the end of these paragraphs, the author disclaims his intuitions on the basis that he probably doesn't know what he is talking about. Curiously modest. nevertheless, the stories about the factories speak for themselves. The stories themselves make it clear that US capitalism has lost something important even without the benefit of talking head style commentary.

  • ||

    The good news is that once the monopsony problems are recognized and solved, I believe the free market will serve society as well as it did for the balance of the 20th century when antitrust law was applied wisely, judiciously and judicially.

    Odd. I took an antitrust class last semester using the latest edition of that book, and if anything, antitrust was applied poorly and capriciously in the 20th century. By and large, judges have a terrible understanding of economics. Only in the last 20 years have antitrust laws been applied in a way to improve market performance and benefit consumers.

    And if your understanding of monopsonies comes from Harper's Magazine, I think that explains a lot.

  • Dave W.||

    antitrust was applied poorly and capriciously in the 20th century.

    Aye there's a good lad. His Master's Voice.

  • Dave W.||

    I give T. a hard time for being so slap-happily co-optable a researcher only to have an aspiring lawyer show us that lawyers are still worse than scientists. Maybe RCD needs a clerk this summer.

  • ||

    Aye there's a good lad. His Master's Voice.

    You just said the book was a collection of cases and hypotheticals and not a political manifesto, and I agree. I drew my own conclusions. Which "Master's Voice" am I channeling?

    I give T. a hard time for being so slap-happily co-optable a researcher only to have an aspiring lawyer show us that lawyers are still worse than scientists.

    Co-optable? It must have been some time since you were in law school. As a pro-free market individualist, I'm in the extreme minority.

  • ||

    No one's ever been brave enough to accuse CSPI of not being willfully blind and stupid. The original post was right.

  • Dave W.||

    You just said the book was a collection of cases and hypotheticals and not a political manifesto, and I agree. I drew my own conclusions. Which "Master's Voice" am I channeling?

    The Reagan administration's. Your future employer's. Your professor's (does s/he moonlight).

    These are guesses, but probably correct. You know which side the bread is buttered on. Otherwise you probably would have taken food law instead of antitrust, like I did.

  • ||

    Otherwise you probably would have taken food law instead of antitrust, like I did.

    Oh Wise and Enlightened One Who Sees All, please tell me what classes I should take and what I should do with my life. I don't want to be like thoreau and waste my life doing productive and useful things when I could be battling HFCS or opening an ice cream store.

  • ||

    Dave W.

    "the role of food is being systematically obfuscated by the scientific community and I think they oughtta be ashamed."

    The truth is that food is being systematically studied by the scientific community and I think you oughtta get informed.

    http://dnrc.nih.gov/dnrc/program_93-95/NIDDK.htm

  • Dave W.||

    I should do with my life

    monopoly power and individualism don't mix.

    read the Harper's article, instead of dismissing it unread. pay special attention to how the supreme court weighed short run business efficiency gains against the continued existence of a truly competitive marketplace in Standard Oil. read the candybar book. there is a lot about individualism in both these sources.

    yes, antitrust law is bad for the shareholders. yes, it plays havoc with next quarter and the quarter after that -- maybe even 8 connsecutive quarters or more. don't pay it no mind because that is myopic and we have enuf rich people suffering from that particular kind of myopia already. Skilling is in jail, but most of 'em still roam free and some of them teach antitrust. the joy of watching your aged parents keep all 4 of their feet is better than an additional 0.25% ROI. sometimes what is good for the shareholders is bad for individuals. especially if they want to buy what they want to buy instead of what they are told to buy.

    if the vice president ever gets drunk and shoots you in the face, don't act like a snivelling toady. I don't care if it is the vice president.

  • ||

    AC,

    Drop out of law school and get a technical degree, while you still can. Like in engineering or something. Law sucks, and we have more lawyers than we could possibly use :)

    I tend not to like a lot of the lawyers I know, for much the same reason people tend not to like used car salesmen--the kind of people that are attracted to the profession are not always, um, the greatest people on earth. Still, a large percentage of lawyers support tort reform and other reforms of the legal system. Even among litigators, only plaintiffs' attorneys make out with crazy punitive damage awards.

    Do we even have a personal injury or products liability attorney around here? I'm a corporate attorney and don't litigate at all, and I think Dave is a patent lawyer.

  • Dave W.||

    Dave is indeed a patent lawyer, but these days it is as much distribution and supply agreements and other misc K review. arms length negotiation. No shame here.

    Never done personal injury law. never will. worked with insurance defense lawyers, but only when they litigate as IP litigators. Even when I was an IP litigator, it was defense as often as plaintiffside.

    I think the tort system has problems, but they are way overblown as a fraction of US gdp. I think the bigger problem is use of tort issues as pr to distract from systemic problems involving insurance companies and other monopsonic actors.

    How much do you think your insurance bill will decrease when the tort caps on medical malpractice compensatory damages pass? I have a guess!

  • Dave W.||

    btw, I try to influence u guys, but sometimes u influence me as well. I have come to the conclusion that they oughtta completely dump monetary punitives. No friend of the plaintiff's bar me, see?

    I still like injunctive punitives, but they haven't been invented yet.

    Maybe I will file a pat app on that.

  • ||

    I looked up monopsony in Webster's and got this defintion: "an oligopsony limited to one buyer"
    Maybe the government needs to get involved in writing dictionaries. Well, that might even lead to worse definitions like, "something that is monosponic."

    Anyway, thank god for wikipedia. But after reading the explanation here, I'm curious why it would be a monospony. Wouldn't various food manufacturers as well as grocery chains count as individual buyers?

  • ||

    Pro Libertate,

    I already have an engineering degree. I will be taking the patent bar before too long. While I fear to join the ranks of a profession that admits someone like Dave W., I knew of such costs when I entered law school.

  • ||

    AC,

    I once worked with a guy who had a PhD in physics who, after a number of years of working in physics, had gotten a law degree. When he was a physicist, he wanted to be a lawyer. When he was a lawyer, he wanted to be a physicist. Egad.

  • Dave W.||

    Anyway, thank god for wikipedia. But after reading the explanation here, I'm curious why it would be a monospony.

    don't get so hung up on semantics here. we are talking about what is wrong with the world, not the word.

    read the Harper's article instead of the wiki. It is exceptionally articulate writing.

  • Dave W.||

    "wiki. It is exceptionally articulate writing."

    should be:

    --wikipedia. Don't make a fetish out of monopoly versus dupoly versus oligopoly. Adam Smith wouldn't have and you would know that if you read the Harper's article.--

  • ||

    Dave W. vs. Mainstreamman.

    I love it. BRB, I'm gonna gets me some o' that thar popped-corn.

  • ||

    Dave-

    You wouldn't get nearly as much criticism if your only stance was labeling for contents. You also want labels to reflect every concern you might have about the contents.

    And it isn't just about your suspicion that something is rotten in the food industry. It's that your suspicions are usually one or more of the following:

    1) Just plain wrong (see MainstreamMan for details)
    2) Plausible but unsupported
    3) Right in principle, but the effect is actually small (see MainstreamMan for details) or else a risk that requires significant consumption, and can hence be balanced out with a balanced diet (a balanced portfolio is as advisable with food as it is with investments)
    4) Right in principle, but you ignore trade-offs, or the notion that adults can assume risk.

    And it isn't even just about food. Remember when you waded into the issue of gun safety and started saying that Glock should be liable when a guy shot himself because they didn't put a particular feature on the firearm? Remember when the rest of us tried to explain that the feature in question would fail with an incompetent user, the same sort of user who would put his finger on the trigger while pointing it at his foot?

    You wade into all sorts of issues and start insisting that:

    1) There's a conspiracy to hide the truth
    2) T. doesn't care
    3) The solution is something that you just came up with even though you know nothing about the subject
    4) If your solution isn't implemented then somebody should be sued.

    Can you think of any reason why we might disagree?

  • Timothy||

    Of course, I could vanquish it in my own life. I have lots of brains and willpower.

    That's certainly debatable.

    For shit sake at least learn that a monopoly is a market with one producer and that a monopsony is a market with one consumer.

    Examples:

    Monopoly: Electrical utilities in most cities.
    Monopsony: Defense Contracting in the US (the global market is obviously not this way, but the domestic market is).

  • ||

    In the case of corn syrup it is mnore of a conspiracy not to know the truth.

    We don't know if the effects are large or small because of the conspiracy not to know.

    Gunnuts never think that there is wrong with any gun ever. Of course you are unanimous on that at HnR. They could make the gun out of ricin and you guys would think it was hunk dory.

    I'm glad Timothy learned to count to one. I wish he realized there is more than that to the political economy.

  • ||

    Dave, do you know how to handle a semiautomatic handgun?

    Do you know how to safely unload it or verify that it's unloaded? Do you know the rules to follow when handling it? Do you know how to safely load it and fire it?

  • ||

    Dr. T.

    Don't forget.

    5) Easily confirmed or refuted with facts readily available to anyone with an internet connection and the willingness and curiosity to actually try and understand the issue.

    By the by, I noticed this on the NIH site:

    Angiogenesis and Diabetes
    The purpose of this RFA will be to enhance our understanding of the effects of diabetes on the development of new blood vessels from preexisting vessels (angiogenesis), in order to open new therapeutic avenues to treat diabetic vasculopathies. This RFA will seek R21 grant applications on basic and clinical studies on 1) angiogenesis in the islet during development and after islet transplantation and 2) abnormal angiogenesis seen in the complications of diabetes in wound healing, nephropathy, neuropathy and peripheral, coronary and cerebral arterial diseases. Pending final approval, this RFA will be published in the NIH guide in summer, 2006.

    Almost seems like a diabetes study that would benefit from the work you are doing. Hmm....

    Mediageek.
    Glad to entertain. I am sure it all seems a blur of big words, facts, and concepts to you, but like The Matrix, that too can be fun with popcorn.

  • ||

    Dave W.

    "We don't know if the effects are large or small because of the conspiracy not to know."

    It is not a conspiracy if there is only one person involved.

    pssst. that person is you...

  • ||

    Thanks, MainstreamMan. I'll take a look at it. I'm new to biophysics, so I don't know much about the role of angiogenesis in diabetes, but it's something to look into. If I can find a project that my boss doesn't understand then it's easier to ignore him and just do my calculations.

  • ||

    Before you get too excited, Dave, I have a long backlog of projects to do in the areas of cancer and optical imaging. Those come first.

  • Timothy||

    Dave: The point is that you can't even get simple things like the correct meaning of words down.

    And, for the record, I can count all the way to ten.

  • Dave W.||

    I have a long backlog of projects to do in the areas of cancer and optical imaging. Those come first.

    You don't have to tell me about your boss's choice of research biases. I know them all too well. That is exactly the conspiracy not to know that I was talked about. That is the observable manifestation, the thing itself.

    Good luck curing cancer.

  • Dave W.||

    Do you know how to safely unload it or verify that it's unloaded? Do you know the rules to follow when handling it? Do you know how to safely load it and fire it?

    No, but I know how to lissen to duelling experts, one from the gunnut camp and one from the antigunnut camp and decide, at the end of hearing their spiels and cross examinations, which is less nutty. I know how to reserve judgement until both sides of the argument are in. Litigation teaches that kind of intellectual patience.

  • ||

    Actually, the optics project was my bias at work. It's a cool project.

    And I'm not a gun "nut." But I do own one and enjoy practicing with it from time to time. The reason why people in my camp never blame the gun is because you cannot safely handle a gun unless you have a mindset that leaves no room for the phrase "It wasn't my fault!"

  • Dave W.||

    The reason why people in my camp never blame the gun is because you cannot safely handle a gun unless you have a mindset that leaves no room for the phrase "It wasn't my fault!"

    Imagine the cop in the video had shot one of the kids instead. Who would pay for that pain in Judge T.'s courthouse?

    Are you suggesting gunowners get mandatory insurance, or is the kid stuck with a quadriplegic's bills on a policeman's garnishment?

    I wasn't really impressed with Cheney's performance neither. How do you explain that? I thought Texas had the bestest safety courses in the whole world! RCD sed.

    In other words, T., I can imagine a legal regime built around the assumption that it is always the gunowner's fault, but I don't think it is the legal regime we have and I see gunnuts as responsible in large part for the (probably lousy) legal regime we have. The NRA doesn't support mandatory insurance, does it?

    I readily admit that I don't know much about guns. Maybe there already is mandatory gun insurance and I just never heard of it. Is it mandatory?

  • ||

    I had two cupcakes this morning. I bet they were filled with HFCS, and the frosting was probably loaded with trans fat. There weren't any warning pamphlets telling me about the dangers, either. There was an ingredients list, but clearly that's not enough. I shouldn't have to read ingredients and decide for myself whether or not I should eat them. I should sue Sam's Club.

  • ||

    kid stuck with a quadriplegic's bills on a policeman's garnishment?

    Do I get to sue Ford if someone acts negligently and hits me with a Ford Focus?

  • Dave W.||

    Do I get to sue Ford if someone acts negligently and hits me with a Ford Focus?

    No, the owner of the Ford Focus is required to have insurance.

  • Dave W.||

    I should sue Sam's Club.

    I said the HFCS thing is a potential failure of the scientific community. that in itself doesn't make it actionable. It just means T. needs to re-evaluate his private sector proiorities. rethink who the heroes and villains are in his private world. Maybe reconsider whether "free market" allocations (as currently practiced) are helping or hurting science, which he claims to be dedicated to. Mind you, T. and I are having this convesation here, not in court.

    That said, if Sam's Club knows significantly more about the risks than is publicly accessible, then that could potentially form a liability basis. I doubt it because I think Sam's Club understands the risks of those things exactly as well/poorly as you. That means no lawsuit for you.

  • ||

    No, the owner of the Ford Focus is required to have insurance.

    You must be a lawyer. Your ability to find distinctions without actual differences is astounding.

    Perhaps something without insurance, since you seem to latch onto that whenever it arises: if I use a fluorescent lightbulb to hit a rock, only to have it shatter and blind my nearby friend, does he get to sue GE?

  • ||

    I said the HFCS thing is a potential failure of the scientific community.

    And that's what MainstreamMan has pointed out repeatedly (with sources!): it's not a failure of the scientific community. The only failure is your ability to understand that.

  • Dave W.||

    Your ability to find distinctions without actual differences is astounding.


    It is responsible to sell a man a dangerous thing if you know he is insured and can pay off any reasonably expectable injury claims that may he may negligently caused by the dangerous thing you are selling him.

    On the other hand, if you sell him a dangerous thing and have no idea how solvent the person is, then you are making an irresponsible sale, a culpable sale, an evil sale.

    This is why insurance matters as far as the equities are concerned. This is why I am more eager, at the margins, to impute negligent design to guns rather than automobiles. One type of manufacturer has allowed mandatory insurance to reign in its market and the other type of manufacturer has (I would guess) resisted.

    The law is not some brooding omnipresence in the sky. Life of the law is experience, etc, etc. Do they still teach that stuf in lawr skule or has it been replaced by a class on how best to document your billed hours.

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