One Step Closer Toward An All-Taco-Bell Future


In section 4205, which lays out requirements for nutrition labeling at chain restaurants, the new health care law instructs the administration's Health and Human Services Secretary to "consider standardization of recipes and methods of preparation, reasonable variation in serving size and formulation of menu items, space on menus and menu boards, inadvertent human error, training of food service workers, variations in ingredients, and other factors, as the Secretary determines." [bold added] Time to admit defeat, declare Demolition Man prophetic, and convert all restaurants to Taco Bells?

Thanks to John Hoff at the always-helpful Galen Institute for the pointer.

NEXT: Liability vs. Regulation

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  1. Does this mean I’m going to have to learn how to use the three seashells?

    1. Read my last Suderman rant and you should have plenty of toilet paper.

      1. Print out my last Suderman rant and you should have plenty of toilet paper.


      2. How in gods name did I miss this! Classic, genious, uber accurate, innovative. I salute you. And I apologize for not reading it earlier.


      3. Oh Groovus, you just made my heart swoon.

    2. I loved Sandra Bullock in that movie. “You really licked his ass” Classic

  2. I don’t think they’re contemplating ordering restaurants to adopt a standard menu or recipe. I think that the degree of standardization across franchise in a chain is simply part of the math in developing regulations.

    You might expect McDonald’s to have more consistency in labeling than, I dunno, a regional chain of restaurants that don’t all buy their ingredients from the same place, or that allows some variation in the menu.

    1. Because McDonalds buys all its ingredients from The Same Place….

      Also, not sure how you consider “consider standardization of recipes and methods of preparation” to mean anything other than “ordering restaurants to adopt a standard menu or recipe”.

      Please, elaborate.

      1. In the context, it means that the regulations should be applied differently to restaurants that standardize their recipes and those that do not. That’s the first item in a list of things that regulators should take into account when applying regulations.

        Your interpretation would mean that HHS regulators would require restaurants to have “inadvertent human error”.

        1. Right.

          This particular paragraph isn’t very problematic. It’s a list of criteria to consider when making the rules about what constitutes nutritional labeling. Presumably most Reason readers object to the rules themselves, not what the Secretary will consider when determining the required font size.

    2. *Because every McDonalds…

      1. its -> their

  3. John Spartan, you are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.

    1. I figure that of all the dystopian possibilities in Demolition Man, that one is the most likely to actually happen. I figure the odds are 50/50 that by 2020 or so, such a “verbal morality statute” will exist and be blessed by SCOTUS.

      1. We have already, puny citizen. We are just waiting for the right statute to be written.

      2. Not with the current profane group we have in the White House. Obama’s not really known for his potty mouth personally, but Joe “Big Fucking Deal” Biden and Rahm “Motherfucking cocksucking asshole shithead bastard” Emanuel sure are.

    2. Enforcement Machine, I am about to have many a violation…..

      I really need to stop reading you, Suderman; every time I do, I feel the Dark Side swelling in me more and more, and I really don’t wish to get the banhammer from you for another rant.

      1. I hereby suggest replacing Suderman with Maximus. It’ll be a better read.

      2. Groov, this rant of yours sounds interesting, but I cannot seem to find it. Was it thrown down the memory hole?

        1. Perhaps he is referring to this one?

          1. Don’t know how I missed that one.That was excellent.

            The second paragraph should be the first comment on every thread, well done sir.

    3. I’d go so goddamn fucking dog-cunt broke in that future.

      1. I’d subsidize your vulgarity in such a dystopian future Saccharin Man. You are the closest thing we have to Denis Leary, Alan Ginsberg and Arthur C. Clarke all rolled into one.

        You like ratburgers?

        1. Is it anything like snake? I’ve eaten snake.

          For the record, I’d eat ratburgers.

  4. Only after all the salt and fat have been removed from TB products, and they become as bland as tofu.

    1. The magic is in the fact that with enough fat and salt (and heat), even tofu can become tasty.

      1. myth

        1. Never had some good fried tofu? Try eating tofu prepared by a cuisine that isn’t freegantarian.

  5. Plus the piano man singing old commercial jingles.

  6. Victory Gin.

    1. Oh god don’t say that.

  7. Yo quiero taco bell?

  8. You can pry my grilled porterhouse – cooked on a proper charcoal grill that spews all kinds of evil hydrocarbons into the air – and redskin potatoes from my cold, fat (but happy), dead hands. It’ll be in the hand that’s not holding my gun…

    1. It’ll be in the hand that’s not holding my gun.

      Didn’t your mother tell you not to put your hand there?

      1. My mother and I have never spoken about such things.

    2. I can’t draw for shit. Can someone with skillz PLEASE illustrate Almanian in that scene? I want to make it a poster and hang it on my wall. Framed even.

      Or just sell that poster. I got $20 right here.

      1. Let’s just be sure I get my royalties as the Idea Man, ‘kay?

        1. Take it up with whoever makes the poster available for sale. I’m just the consumer here.

        2. Ofcourse, now you’ve ensured that the poster will be modeled-for by an Almanian look-alike.

  9. A few months ago, Jim Prevor had a useful post over at NRO on the problems with (and politics behind) that provision.

  10. Dammit, now I want a Volcano Taco.

    Maybe as a treat after I skate tonight.

  11. Mellow greetings, Reasonoids. What seems to be your boggle?

  12. An all-Taco Bell future = full employment for sewer workers.

    1. Make a run for the bidet…er, border.

  13. Once again Reason displays its hopeless American-only myopia. In “Demolition Man”, the restaurant of the future was only Taco Bell in the domestic release; for all foreign releases the restaurant was changed (badly) to Pizza Hut.



    1. Pizza Hut is international?


      1. I was on a road trip, passing through Rotorua New Zealand in 1982, and damned if we didn’t encounter a Pizza Hut. As much as my traveling companion and I had been enjoying New Zealand food, we thought it would be nice to get some actual American-style pizza for a change. So we went in and ordered a large ham and pineapple. To our chagrin, the pineapple was crushed, not chunks or slices, and the ham seemed like pate’ — deviled ham! The pizza wasn’t altogether inedible, but as pizza went, it seemed thoroughly “localized.” Eating it was an experience we never wanted to repeat. On the other hand, the McDonalds in the same town gave us food that was pretty much like any other McDonalds anywhere. The decor was thoroughly Maori (in a fast-food way, of course). From then on, we ate at local NZ restaurants exclusively and enjoyed our meals and wine immensely.

        1. I heard that Hawaiian pizza is very popular in Australia and New Zealand for some reason…

          1. Because it tastes good?

  14. The urge to control and to standardize and to regulate is, apparently, irresistible to some folks. Is there a single aspect of our lives that government doesn’t have its grubby fingers in?

    1. Standardizing and regulating every detail of life is the only way that American politicians, bureaucrats, and lawyers know how to protect individual liberty.

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