A.P. reports that Hardee's is now offering a portable version of "the sort of big breakfast item normally found in sit-down restaurants." The Country Breakfast Burrito contains "two egg omelets filled with bacon, sausage, diced ham, cheddar cheese, hash browns and sausage gravy, all wrapped inside a flour tortilla." Naturally, the Center for Science in the Public Interest objects, calling the new item "a breakfast bomb" and "another lousy invention by a fast-food company." The burrito contains 920 calories and 60 grams of fat, "all before 10 o'clock in the morning," notes Jayne Hurley, CSPI's perenially disgusted senior nutritionist. The group calls edibles that offend it "food porn," an apt label both because the nutritional nannies' indignation resembles that of anti-smut crusaders and because companies like Hardee's take advantage of the forbidden fruit effect (strictly a metaphor in this context) by inviting customers to rebel while gorging themselves.

I could point out that 920 calories for breakfast is not necessarily out of line with the government's own recommendations for male teenagers and physically active men, or that Hardee's "does offer some low-calorie options, including roast beef and chicken sandwiches." But I am most struck by the fact that quotes from activists like Hurley are now obligatory in articles about new menu items at restaurant chains. Even from the perspective of "obesity epidemic" doomsayers, this seems like a strange state of affairs. After all, stories about the plunging prices of big-screen TVs, the hot new video game, or the latest labor-saving device do not typically include critics bemoaning the implications for calorie expenditure. Should they?

A few years ago, I analyzed CSPI's anti-pleasure principles in reason.

[via Caseworker Alice Pitney's blog]