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Mandatory Allergen Labels Are a Double-Edged Sword

Allergen labeling is hard work that’s done often, and often done wrong.

RICHARD B. LEVINE/NewscomRICHARD B. LEVINE/NewscomEdison Township, New Jersey, could become the first municipality in the nation to require restaurants and caterers operating there to post information about the presence of allergens in every dish they serve.

The proposed ordinance, included in a recent committee report, requires warnings for the eight foods for which the FDA requires warnings if the foods are packaged—including milk, eggs, and peanuts—as well as MSG (monosodium glutamate) and added sulfites (such as those found in wines).

"Edison Township Councilman Sam Joshi introduced the ordinance," reports radio station WCBS, "which would require thousands of establishments in the town and surrounding area to rework their menus and label all allergens for every dish and beverage they serve."

All told, the ordinance would apply to all of the more than 600 restaurants and hundreds of caterers that operate in Edison. Joshi says the ordinance would require restaurants to have on hand one copy of a special menu that allergy sufferers could request. Restaurants would have until February to comply with the ordinance, while caterers would have until October 1 to do the same.

Supporters of the controversial ordinance—including Councilman Joshi, who suffers from food allergiesclaim the ordinance will cost little in terms of restaurateurs' and caterers' time or money, would help food-allergy sufferers immensely, and should be adopted around the country.

Food allergies are a real problem. And, as this fact sheet from the group Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) makes clear, people with food allergies are most likely to encounter allergens while dining out. "Research suggests that close to half of fatal food allergy reactions are triggered by food consumed outside the home," FARE reports.

Joshi says the goal of his ordinance is to make Edison "the safest place to eat in the" nation.

But critics are lashing out at the proposal.

Most of the more than 250 commenters here, for example, argue the ordinance would increase costs and liability and drive businesses away from the town.

Though Joshi claims the ordinance would help restaurants lessen their liability, I think the critics are correct. Either through the regular changes that occur on menus daily (or weekly) in many restaurants, or through changes in suppliers (or the ingredients used by suppliers), or through some combination of these factors, the ordinance would likely heighten a food provider's liability. To mitigate this heightened liability would require restaurants and caterers to read all of the labels of all of the ingredients they're using every single time they receive a shipment—probably hundreds of times each year—lest they miss the unannounced addition of some new allergen to a food they've purchased for months or even years.

For many consumers, the ordinance also wouldn't likely solve the main problems it's intended to address. Worryingly, it wouldn't eliminate (and doesn't even appear to address) one major concern of those who suffer from severe food allergies: cross contamination. A person may be allergic to shellfish, for example, but not to fish (or vice versa). Yet a restaurant may prepare both on the same cutting board. Or a consumer may be allergic to peanuts (technically a legume) but not to tree nuts. And yet a restaurant may use the same food processor to blitz, say, both almonds and peanuts, even if they're not in the same dish together. In each of these examples, an allergy sufferer could become violently ill or worse. The Edison ordinance could give consumers dining there a false—and fatally flawed—sense of security.

The inclusion of MSG on the list is also puzzling, given that it's not a known allergen. The Mayo Clinic reports that "researchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and [a host of alleged] symptoms."

Generally, I support the FDA's mandatory allergen-labeling rules. Still, in previous writings here and elsewhere, I've pointed out a host of problems with adopting and enforcing allergy-labeling regulations. The FDA's gluten rules, for example, don't do enough to protect those with severe gluten allergies. And, as I explained in a lengthy piece for the New Food Economy last year—one in which I detailed surprising findings from a FOIA request I'd filed—overlapping USDA and FDA jurisdiction and related infighting and inertia can mean that important recalls of foods due to the presence of undeclared allergens may be delayed or slip through the cracks.

Allergen labeling is hard work that's done often, and often done wrong.

That brings us back to Edison, where Councilman Joshi, who was elected last year, stated during the election that "[t]he most important issue over the next few years will be Edison's continued economic growth." I don't doubt that's a key issue. But Joshi's allergen-labeling ordinance is a shortsighted effort that could cripple economic growth in Edison for years to come without making consumers and the food they eat much (or any) safer.

Photo Credit: RICHARD B. LEVINE/Newscom

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  • Rich||

    Under the proposed ordinance, "allergy friendly" menus would have to note which items contain the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's eight most common allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans -- along with MSG and sulfites.

    What's magic about "eight"? I know a guy who is deathly allergic to green peppers. Why does Edison Twp hate him? WHY?!

    require restaurants and caterers operating there to post information about the presence of allergens in every dish

    How about posting "It is possible that allergens are present in every dish we serve. Please address any concerns to your server."

  • Zeb||

    Too many restaurants already do that voluntarily. It's no fun to be in local government unless you get to force people to do something.

  • Rich||

    Bingo.

    Hey, how about forcing Uber drivers to post allergy (and disease!) warnings in their vehicles?

  • Restoras||

    100% this.

  • perlchpr||

    I know a girl who gets violently ill due to allergies whenever she consumes beef, pork, or mushrooms.

    There's lots and lots of stuff with pork fat in it.

    Even when she asks, sometimes places are wrong.

    So I can't imagine them managing to label everything correctly.

  • SIV||

    Not the marrying type.

  • Drave Robber||

    Many people are allergic to honey. They just somehow haven't managed to organize a lobby.

  • Echo Chamber||

    Just label everything as "may include milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, MSG and/or sulfites" and be done with it

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Better yet, put all those ingredients in every dish, and avoid the uncertainty.

  • Rich||

    Beautiful.

    "An Allergen In Every Bite!"

  • Blaze Miskulin||

    Hahlo, an' welcome to Café Alergén (said with a fake French accent, of course)

  • Rockabilly||

    Caution: Life leads to Death !!!

  • Ken Shultz||

    I have reactions to legumes. I've had reactions to soy, peanuts, peas, and garbanzo beans. The hardest thing for me to to avoid, by far, is soybean oil, and the war on trans fats appears to have made avoiding it in restaurants practically impossible. Dig deep enough, and I suspect you'll find that the regulation discouraging trans fats is encouraging the use of soybean oil and has made it practically ubiquitous. That they now want to adopt regulation effectively discouraging the use of soybean oil isn't ironic, at least, not if by "ironic" we mean "unexpected".

    Libertarians expect food regulation to be a convoluted mess of contradictions.

    P.S. Plenty of people have sensitivities to certain food that aren't technically allergies--with the use of soybean oil being an excellent example. Using the science of allergies to determine that refines soybean oil or soy lecithin doesn't technically trip the immune systems of people who are allergic to soy gets it all wrong. Food sensitivities can mimic allergic reaction through other means, and the government making pro-soy determinations on that basis are absurd for that reason. It's just another case of the government creating more problems than there would have been otherwise by inflicting their choices on the rest of us through regulation.

  • Zeb||

    And now there are lots of extra soybeans on the market.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, that doesn't help things either.

    But soybean will always be the cheapest available oil. That's because soy is primarily processed as animal feed by way of soybean meal. The creation of soybean oil is a byproduct of processing it for its most profitable use as animal feed--other oils don't give off as much in that process or arne't a byproduct of some other process at all.

    They used to just chuck soybean oil because it's inedible in its original state. The Chinese would ferment it into soy sauce, but the process of making soybean oil edible for humans involves large, industrial, chemical processes with hexane that carries its own risks. Anyway, soybean oil will probably always be the cheapest oil available.

    Food guidelines against transfats made fully hydrogenated soybean oil practically ubiquitous.

    I can't go to a regular grocery store and find bread that's free of soybean oil anymore. You have to go to to Whole Foods or some other health food store for that. I can't order pizza out reliably anymore either. I got one of those Zojirrushi bread makers. I make my own pizza crusts and bake my own bread now.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Also worth noting that there are foods that can be problematic with no allergies involved.
    A large percentage of IBS/IBD sufferers are provided relief by a 'low FODMAPS' diet — fodmaps being Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols.
    The gut fails to properly digest/absorb these carbohydrates which then pass into the lower intestine where they ferment, and are highly osmotic. Gluten is not a problem as it's a protein, but there are a number of problem carbohydrates that rule out flour. And beans, onions, garlic, shallots, apples, pears, cherries, peas, high fructose corn syrup, and many other foods.
    Eating these foods may not be life threatening but can be extremely unpleasant.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, there are plenty of people out there who have indirect reactions to certain molecules that their guts can't absorb. You basically get a blob of rotting food going through your intestines, and the flora and fauna of your gut spike with that. In this way, your auto-immune system can be triggered to react to that spike.

    . . . which is to say, people can have allergic type reactions to foods even if they don't test positive for the allergy.

    One of the best examples is soy, which is molecularly similar to peanuts. If you're allergic to peanuts, chances are you may get allergic type reaction to soy--even if you don't test positive for a soy allergy.

    When the government makes choices for us, they can really screw us up. While an allergen guide may be helpful to people with life threatening allergies they know they have, they're not doing the public any favors by publishing a guide if people think they depend on that to tell them whether or not they'll have an allergic type reaction to what they're eating.

    If they're also granting exceptions based on the science of what's an allergy (rather than just a sensitivity), then they're doing harm. Even soy lecithin contained so little soy protein that 100% of the people with a soy allergy didn't react to soy lecithin, 100% of the people who can't absorb soy still won't be able to absorb it--and they'll have trouble. And the FDA is granting exceptions to some companies so they don't even have to put lecithin on the label?

  • newshutz||

    My son has the flip side to this. He is allergic to soybeans, and thus to many legumes including peanuts, but does not test as allergic to peanuts.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I KNEW IT!

    Ken is one of "those" people

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Soybean allergens are found in the protein fraction. The vast majority of this protein is removed in the soy lecithin manufacturing process. Soy lecithin does contain trace levels of soy proteins and these have been found to include soy allergens. However, apparently, soy lecithin does not contain sufficient soy protein residues to provoke allergic reactions in the majority of soy-allergic consumers. Many allergists do not even advise their soybean-allergic patients to avoid soybean lecithin when it is included as an ingredient on food products. From this practical standpoint, we can surmise that most soybean-allergic individuals do not react adversely to the ingestion of soybean lecithin."

    https://farrp.unl.edu/soy-lecithin

    The FDA has granted exemptions to labeling rules in the past for soy lecithin for this reason.

    Q: What's worse than a government imposed labeling regime?

    A: A government imposed labeling regime that can't be trusted.

  • Arcxjo||

    I'm allergic to milk, eggs, and nuts. Now, I know I'm allergic to those things and don't order things that have them in -- I'm not getting French vanilla ice cream for dessert. As such, I'd be inclined to consider this overkill, if only I haven't been to restaurants where the dumbasses think eggs are an ingredient in everything from pie crusts to spaghetti. And they think those are so completely normal that they would never bother to tell you that proactively.

  • Rich||

    And they think those are so completely normal that they would never bother to tell you that proactively.

    The problem in a, um, nutshell?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I've asked waiters if they use soybean oil. More than once, they've come back and told me that they went back and asked the cook, and they don't use soybean oil. I always follow up by asking them what kind of oil they use. More than once, they tell me "We use vegetable oil".

    Soybeans are a vegetable. At that point, there's no reason to trust what they say. Why would I eat anything they told me didn't have soybean oil in it at that point? Where's the manager? May I speak with the manager?

  • DajjaI||

    You are not allergic to soybeans. Stop torturing everyone around you and making them hate you. #urhealed

  • Ken Shultz||

    The crank conspiracy theories convention is down the hall to the right.

  • DajjaI||

    Like I said.

  • Tony||

    Oh my god amen.

    Just stay in your house if you can't tolerate normal ingredients. Nobody wants to know about your bowels.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Have you checked the subject of this thread?

    Were you under the impression this thread was about foreign policy?

  • Tony||

    I'm allergic to cheap metal jewelry. Guess what I don't do? Tell strangers about it. I just don't wear jewelry and get on with my life. You're a capitalist. Are restaurants meant to bend over backward for the 6% of people with food allergies?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I managed a restaurant in my youth, and, yeah, restaurants want to cater to the individual requests of their customers. That's what makes them better at this than government interference.

    P.S. 6% of your customers can be the difference between profitability and closing down. If you knew anything about how a business works, you'd know that. You're a buffoon.

  • Tony||

    But consider that Big Allergy has added more inconvenience to the lives of normal people than the woke police ever will.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Other people aren't there for your convenience.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I think you need to just stay home, Ken

  • Ken Shultz||

    It isn't up to you.

  • Juice||

    Got news for you. Eggs are in spaghetti.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Can be in pie crust too. I was honestly leaning toward the comment being sarcasm because of that.

  • Zeb||

    Not all spaghetti. A lot of the time it's made with water.

  • DajjaI||

    People think that "food I don't like" means they are allergic to it. And then there are the ones who think that "food I crave" means they're allergic. The reason for those dumbasses is that AA teaches that alcoholism is an allergy to alcohol, which is why you crave it. Yes that is literal 12 Step dogma. #insidethemindofanidiot

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are you seriously suggesting that our immune system creates antibodies because we like or don't like certain foods?

    What about the people who have persistent allergic reactions before they realize that they're allergic reactions?

  • DajjaI||

    #insidethemindofanidiot

  • Tony||

    Then it's not exactly life threatening is it?

  • Ken Shultz||

    And what does that have to do with anything?

  • Tony||

    Man up and hive.

  • Dan S.||

    He is saying it's not true, but that other people (such as AA) claim it is.

  • SIV||

    If you don't realize it is an allergic reaction what's the problem?
    Short of anaphylactic shock, why worry about a minor case of the hives and a prolonged sneezing bout if it tastes good?

  • Rich||

    AA teaches that alcoholism is an allergy to alcohol

    I understand it's "allergy" in the sense of "abnormal reaction", unlike that experienced by the other ~90% of the population.

  • Tony||

    Terminology no doubt derived from extensive scientific research.

  • Echospinner||

    AA is religiously based. Not scientific and never claimed to be.

    The twelve steps only mention alcohol once. "Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable." If it helps members to believe they have an allergy and disease I don't see the problem with that. It is just a way of dealing with it in terms of psychology and behavior.

    Same with those claiming a Sugar allergy. It isn't but it works for some people to think of it that way.

    Those things have nothing to do with the allergies we are talking about.

  • Tony||

    Organizations that have a near-monopoly on therapy techniques but have absolutely no track record of results ought to be publicly denounced and driven out of business.

  • Brian||

    And yet, the government court orders people to attend.

    It's almost like they can't even do basic criminal justice right.

  • Rossami||

    While some people (and their doctors) do sometimes overinterpret food intolerances as allergies, you're an idiot.

    For those of us who truly do have food allergies, they follow a specific biological pathway and can be lethal.

  • Echospinner||

    I am not advocating AA. I know it works for a subset of people who want to quit drinking.

    There is no business to drive them out of because AA is not a business. There are no dues or fees. There is no official membership. It is entirely funded by donations. You just walk in the door. There is a central office somewhere I think but there is nobody paid at AA meetings.

  • Echospinner||

    Meant as reply to Tony's comment.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    The next step: Edison Township will require allergy testing of all residents. The results will be entered into a town database. When requesting permission to eat out, the Office of Dining will process the application, compare allergies to proscribed menus and ingredients, and then inform the resident of the approved restaurant, menu item, and date.

  • Agammamon||

    Please allow 8 weeks for your reservation application to be processed.

  • Robert||

    That ain't nuthin'. What about the proposal to ban the use of single-use plastic bags & straws? It's in the same PDF.

  • Drave Robber||

    If I reuse it, it's not 'single-use' anymore, right?

  • Rich||

    Ooh, I think you're on to something!

  • Echospinner||

    We have dogs so those plastic grocery bags all get double used. If the grocery got rid of them I would still need to buy the same number of plastic bags to clean up dog poop.

  • Robert||

    I don't feel like searching that Edison NJ record now, but ISTR the bags were defined therein as single-use according to their thickness.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the most abundant naturally occurring non-essential amino acids. Glutamic acid is found naturally in tomatoes, grapes, cheese, mushrooms and other foods.

    Lord.

    To be sure, government regulation of an industry it knows nowt about was never going to end with less silliness.

  • jonsey1886||

    Yes, I realize I'll probably get beaten over the head by flamers/trolls for this but there is a RESPONSIBLE way of dealing with this issue. If you have an allergic reaction that may be life threatening......go to the hospital/ urgent care clinic so you don't die-and while you're there have them figure out what almost killed you.

    Then AVOID THAT THING and carry a treating agent such as epinephrine (Epi-Pen) to use if the waiter/server/cook etc is a misinformed person.

    I'll offer the classic example of my dear mother, who unfortunately found out the hard way she had developed an allergy to stinging insects. In her mid-fifties she was stung by a bee while gardening which had happened countless times before in her life-however this time she started going into anaphylactic shock. She also being an RN, immediately called 911 and was treated with shots of epi in the ambulance and then diagnosed as allergic to bee stings at her local ER. Now she always makes certain to have her Epi-Pen within reach while outside either in a pocket on her person or strapped to her ankle a la pistol holster.

  • Robert||

    An allergy to stinging insects? Why would she want to sting insects anyway?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    HahahahAhaAaaHahahahaahahaah

  • Eddy||

    "monosodium glutamate"

    So long as it doesn't include crunchy frogs.

  • Eddy||

    I must have a foot in the grave to be able to remember that.

  • kevrob||

    Rowling swiped it for Harry Potter, or it was an homage.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Crispy fried frog is like chicken. Yummy!

  • DiegoF||

    Local reporting reveals the usual greatest hits of local regulation. (Yay subsidiarity!)

    There's the local pol, now basking in national exposure, anything but ashamed at the fact that nowhere else in America, not even in California, is anyone doing something so ridiculous. No; he is bragging about how his town will be "leading the nation" with "the strictest" law. Well, let it never be said he did not do something while in office. You earn that salary, Councilman Joshi!

    And why shouldn't he be proud? If innovation is great in the private sector, so much the more so in government? These are exactly the kind of bold new ideas and smart, outside-the-box, results-driven policy leadership we need from our local politicians. Mike Bloomberg's foundation taught me that...

  • DiegoF||

    ...Then, of course, there's "Dr." Joshi, a man whose highest qualification is a political science B.A. from Rutgers (and the fact that he's been in local government since his teens), holding forth on the medical science behind food allergies; and the reporter (actually not atrocious by local-press standards), apparently under the impression that every Indian is a physician, leaving him as the authority and not bothering to ask any actual doctors for her piece. (In her defense, it's probably very hard to track one down in suburban central New Jersey.)

    Finally (I may have missed something), there's of course the testimony from the "friendly" local business owner: "Hani said his staff takes a lot of pride in their service and the ordinance will allow them to take it to the next level. 'We are excited to move forward with it,' he said." Why the fuck does no one ever ask these happy bootlickers how exactly the proposed new regulation is going to "allow" them to do anything? Why they weren't choosing to do what will be mandated already if it was so damn wonderful? Honestly, if anyone has some experience that might explain the phenomenon I'd be all ears, because I'm always mystified by it.

  • kevrob||

    "Nice liquor license you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it...."

  • Robert||

    there's of course the testimony from the "friendly" local business owner: "Hani said his staff takes a lot of pride in their service and the ordinance will allow them to take it to the next level. 'We are excited to move forward with it,' he said." Why the fuck does no one ever ask these happy bootlickers how exactly the proposed new regulation is going to "allow" them to do anything? Why they weren't choosing to do what will be mandated already if it was so damn wonderful? Honestly, if anyone has some experience that might explain the phenomenon I'd be all ears, because I'm always mystified by it.


    There's alway the possibility he just hadn't thought of it, and now having heard of it thinks it's a good idea.

    I've seen that happen, where a new restriction calls att'n to possibilities. The running punt ("rugby punt") became popular in NCAA football just when & after NCAA forbade kicks from past the neutral zone. It's like coaches hearing of the change thought, "Huh...we can kick all the way up to the neutral zone?"

  • Agammamon||

    Food allergies are a real problem.

    This is ambiguous. Are they a real problem in that they exist or are they a real problem in that they're a significant public health issue.

    "Research suggests . . .

    That's activist code words for 'research doesn't suggest this at all but if we massage the data enough . . . '

    So, those who support force immunization on the theory that not doing it is an aggression against those who can't be immunized, do you also support forced menu labeling under the theory that inclusion of allergens in food is potentially an aggression against the allergic?

  • Agammamon||

    Though the simplest way to solve this is just to label everything as potentially containing an allergen alongside CA's carcinogen warning.

  • perlchpr||

    Are there really people for forced immunization, rather than simply very stringent quarantine of the plague rats in question?

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Yes. Ron Bailey might be happy to explain how the unvaccinated are akin to having noxious fumes waft onto a neighbors' property. I could not convince him that 'unvaccinated' and 'infected' were not the same thing.

  • Echo Chamber||

    "The eight foods for which the FDA requires warnings"

    This must be the modern-day equivalent of shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits, adjusted for inflation.

  • DiegoF||

    Real libertarians do not call for warnings even if those are the ingredients.

  • kevrob||

    Ever read a label for a snack that doesn't contain peanuts, but warns something like: manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts? CYA, all the way, in case some stray nut-powder contaminates your plain M&M.

  • DiegoF||

    I was actually talking about products containing shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. As in the unforgettable classic Director's Cut line, "Soylent Green is shit, piss, fuck, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits!" Still sends shivers down my spine after all these years; truly haunting.

  • Echospinner||

    Which is smart. Some people with peanut allergies can go into anaphylactic shock from even a tiny amount.

  • FreddyB||

    I am extremely sensitive to gluten and in my experience the FDA's labeling requirement has been worse than nothing. 1) The threshold they use for gluten free is 20ppm, which is too high for me to eat without getting sick. 2) They do absolutely nothing when vendors sell products with gluten, despite the label. Now the supermarkets are flooded with "gluten free" items that aren't. I was much better off before the FDA got involved.

  • Sevo||

    OT, but related:
    Man is dying of cancer, worked as a grounds-keeper, therefore Monsanto!

    "Monsanto loses Roundup weed killer case and will have to pay US$ 289 million"
    [...]
    ""This jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong..." said Robert F. Kennedy Jr."
    http://en.mercopress.com/2018/08/11/
    monsanto-loses-roundup-weed-killer-
    case-and-will-have-to-pay-us-289-million

    Certainly glad they found a guy who is from the 'Party of Science' (tm) to lend authority to increasing the price of foods world-wide.

  • Jerryskids||

    Jesus Christ, when's somebody going to shoot that Kennedy shithead? Or at least strap him in a car and drive it off a bridge.

  • DiegoF||

    Or have him take off in a Torpex-packed kamikaze semidrone and blow him up over England before he can parachute out (or say any more adoring things about Hitler). Go really old school.

  • Longtobefree||

    Damn. Libertarian and historian.

  • perlchpr||

    "A San Francisco jury..."

    'nuff said.

  • perlchpr||

    "The simple fact is he is going to die. It's just a matter of time," Wisner told the jury in his opening statement last month.

    As opposed to everyone else, who will all live forever.

  • SIV||

    Generally, I support the FDA's mandatory allergen-labeling rules.

    You won't read compassionate cosmotarian sentences like this over at LvMI.

  • DiegoF||

    True--because the FDA's full acronym is the USFDA. Instead, you will get silence on this issue (apart maybe from a piece by Rockwell announcing that he will absolutely not be giving consent to any state-license-cartel EMT to haul him off to those allopathic butchers, and will instead be carrying an epi-pen refilled with colloidal silver); and, pushed for comment, would get something about how wonderful it is that "the people of Edison" are able to "govern themselves as they see fit," to choose the policy that works for them, instead of having one imposed on them by big bad centralized government. Of course this is New Jersey not Oklahoma so no one in the statehouse is going to pre-empt them with a statewide food freedom bill; but the Mises Institute guys would absolutely condemn it if they did.

    I actually like Mises Institute a lot but this is totally how they are.

  • SIV||

    So they'd support a municipal ordinance banning private property and oppose its preemption by natural rights?

    I'm gonna say NO

  • DiegoF||

    You can say what you'd want but you'd be wrong.

    Like I said, I'm a big fan of them and follow them a lot. They are very, very extreme subsidiarists. At the Federal vs. state level this is backed up by their views on Constitutional legitimacy, but their subsidiarism goes far deeper than that and applies at all levels. They use the very same democracy-tinged rhetoric I was describing when discussing the virtues of subsidiarism; they have explicitly, consistently, and fervently opposed pre-emption of local government infringements on "natural rights" by higher levels of government.

    You presume that they'd have to "support a municipal ordinance" in order to oppose its pre-emption "by natural rights." You act as though the "natural rights" are doing the "pre-emption" themselves. They are not. Rights merely exist; they do not take an action such as pre-emption. The higher government does the pre-emption, ostensibly in defense of the rights; and the legitimacy of this is the heart of the question. Mises Institute says NO, and could not be more clear about it. (They have also consistently opposed judicial review, and have explicitly denounced the Supreme Court when it has overturned statute, even Congressional statute, in defense of natural rights or any other reason.) I disagree with them, but I understand where they are coming from; I do not suppose that one must believe as I do to be a libertarian.

  • Jerryskids||

    I wonder how many lawyers were involved in writing that ordinance? And I don't mean Constitutional scholars, I mean "Have you been injured in an automobile accident?" lawyers. Unless you're going to the sort of restaurant that lets you pick out your own cow before you order your steak, they can't vouch for any packaged ingredients being 100% allergen-free. No matter how good the restaurant is, how highest-quality, freshest-ingredients the menu, they're not growing imported olives and aged Swiss on the olive-and-cheese tree back behind the dumpster, they're buying that stuff pre-packaged.

  • DiegoF||

  • Longtobefree||

    "In addition to using every allergen known to man, this restaurant food may contain from zero to five thousand calories per dish, depending on serving size and/or toppings/dressings selected. Also, the diner at the next table may be of a different political party and trigger you by any random statement"

    OK, is that it?

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    So, anyone bought their $250,000 "Apollo 7 sponsorship" to the big party yet?

    On the plus side, it looks like Mary Stack, Weigel, and all the Weigeltards took the day off, which is always a beautiful thing!

  • SIV||

    Be fun to show up at the VIP dinner in a MAGA hat and Confederate Flag lapel pin

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    VIP = Very Important Poultry?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If you have food allergies-- especially peanut allergies and you travel to Asia, pro-tip: don't get off the plane.

  • Eddy||

    Salon? No, First Things. Sad!

    "The burden is on us to demonstrate that, on specific religious matters, society has no compelling interest in depriving us of particular freedoms."

    Of course, it's about women wearing drapes on their heads. If you want to make a case for repressing that, make it, but I would argue that the burden of proof is on whoever wants to limit religious activities.

  • Eddy||

    And of course the author uses the human-sacrifice hypothetical.

  • Eddy||

    The Pope fools around with the death penalty

    "Thus, "The death penalty is inadmissible" invites the questions, By whom? On whose will? The language smacks of raw judicial power, portending ominously that the Catechism will conform to the will of successive popes. Much as the US Supreme Court has been politicized, the category of the inadmissible risks politicizing the papacy."

  • Echospinner||

    Since we are on the subject of allergies.

    Most people who think they are allergic to penicillin are not.

    https://tinyurl.com/h9jdtdb

    It is actually a big deal as more bugs out there are harder to treat.

  • Echospinner||

    Just to add.

    Many people report that they have an Iodine allergy. That actually does not exist.

    You can have had reaction to iodine containing material like antiseptics or the contrast they use for CT scans but you are not allergic to iodine.

    And it has nothing to do with fish or shellfish. In the past people thought that was due to iodine.

  • SIV||

  • flyfishnevada||

    The labeling is nice but it's so often wrong. My wife is lactose intolerant since she had her gallbladder removed. Hard cheese, butter and a few other dairy products don't contain lactose so she can eat them. But try figuring that out by reading the warning labels. They just say milk or dairy. So we have to read the ingredients anyway to make sure that a food actually has lactose and not just milk. So what's the point? And lot's of other folks, like the article alludes to, have issues that don't fit in the magic 8 allergens. There's two ways to do this. Either force all food related companies to label all potential allergens (which is probably impossible) or let the buyer beware. Free market, right? Self reliance, right? The rest of us shouldn't have to pay the price for the needs a the relative few. They're reading labels, talking to servers, etc. anyway. Those with allergies know best what they can and can't eat. My wife asks and reads but when she's not sure, she goes with the safe option. She realizes it's her problem and not mine or anyone elses. But that attitude is far too rare anymore.

  • Echospinner||

    My wife is very sensitive to gluten and sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol, all those)

    I think most people find out for themselves what works. The labels help but it is different for everyone. Same with restaurants, she knows where she can eat and what.

  • SIV||

    Gluten is great. You don't want to eat pizza without it. Dietary restrictions are a drag. I 'm OK with everything with two legs but people and everything with four legs but the table and that's about it. I don't like kidneys or beets but I figure I just haven't had either prepared in the right way so I'm still open. Diversity in diet is a virtue.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I 'm OK with everything with two legs

    We know.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    Supporters of the controversial ordinance—including Councilman Joshi, who suffers from food allergies—claim the ordinance will cost little in terms of restaurateurs' and caterers' time or money ..

    I'm always amazed when people disregard the cost of something when referring to somebody else's time and money. But, I guess that's what politicians do.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    What's up, Peanuts?

    Just checking in to see if John, Mikey, and LoveCons are taking their Tiki Torches to DC to protest the Anti-Fascists on behalf of White Nationalists..

    Will keep looking if any of you know.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    I'm still hoping both sides head a few blocks up the road to Euclid Street and that you get your ugly-ass acne-riddled face smashed in.

    If we're really lucky, maybe you'll get your innermost wish and your "sad clown" miserable existence will be ended!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    So you ARE there? What do you look for in a Tiki Torch?

  • LeaveTrumpAloneLiberal-tarian||

    Omarosa releases purported secret recording of Chief of Staff John Kelly 'threatening' her in the Situation Room

    If I were here solely to laugh at what a shit show the Trump presidency is, I'd be laughing my ass off at how this reality TV star got anywhere close to the WH, but because I'm here to suck Trump off and violently oppose the agenda of open border's libertarians I'm very, very upset. How can you betray Dear Leader like this, Omarosa? How can you?! Why!?!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Trump is a reality TV POTUS so he picks what he knows. Gary Busey and Meat Loaf are rumored to be joining his cadre of con men.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Rumor is that this whole Space Force thing is because Trump wants to keep the GooBacks out and Pence is weirded out by gay aliens.

  • sarcasmic||

    Pence is weirded out by gay aliens

    Come on! If you were abducted and anally probed, you'd be weirded out by gay aliens too!

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Planned Parenthood completely owned Mike Pence with this awesome tweet!

    Mike Pence would sooner pay to put lasers in space than see people exercise their constitutional right to safe, legal abortion or access health care at Planned Parenthood. #priorities

    Any money that would have gone to the "Space Force" should instead go to helping people access abortion care.

    #StandWithPP

  • LeaveTrumpAloneLiberal-tarian||

    As long as we have big defense budgets and a huge border wall I'm ok with it, you commie freak

    #GetAJobLoser

  • Tony||

    This is something that personally affects ME, so I REQUIRE government bureaucrats babysitting me.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    It will take practically no effort and cost little, and everyone must be forced to take this easy, low-cost solution at gunpoint for reasons of morality.

  • Longtobefree||

    "Supporters of the controversial ordinance—including Councilman Joshi, who suffers from food allergies—claim the ordinance will cost little in terms of restaurateurs' and caterers' time or money .."

    So they have announced that they are setting up a corporation to do all the necessary research and labeling, and will accept full liability for any company using their free service. . . . . . . .

    This just in - unicorns DID appear in DC

  • Sevo||

    "So they have announced that they are setting up a corporation to do all the necessary research and labeling, and will accept full liability for any company using their free service. . . . . . . ."

    It's very easy to claim there will be no harm when you have no skin in the game.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    NO GAVIN MCINNIS POST? What are you trying to hide, Reason?

  • SIV||

    From "Friend of Reason to "a cruel and loathsome cult leader"

    According to some Jill Stein voter.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    'Abolish ICE': How Republicans Seized on a Liberal Rallying Cry

    Damn those Republicans, always seizing on things progressives and libertarians say. And when they're not seizing on things we say, they're pouncing on things we say. It gets exhausting.

    But the joke is on them! The American people are fed up with this white nationalist Putin puppet regime and its draconian immigration crackdown. Voters are disgusted with Drumpf's policy of literally ripping black and brown children out of their parents' arms. That's why #AbolishICE is gaining momentum. Just look at rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her smart, popular left-libertarian platform.

    I guarantee that the Democrat who wins the 2020 Presidential election will be on the right side of history on this crucial human rights issue.

    #AbolishICE
    #NoBanNoWall
    #OpenBorders

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Democratic Candidates Say It's Time Their Party Actually Did Something About Guns

    As Democrats are rapidly moving toward the Koch / Reason position on immigration, we libertarians must return the favor by moving toward the Democratic position on guns. The longterm health of the progressive / libertarian alliance demands it.

    The Second Amendment, if it does anything at all, only protects the right to own an 18th century musket while serving in a militia. Nobody needs a deadly military style assault weapon, and banning them does not violate the Constitution, as Michael Hihn has repeatedly explained.

    #LibertariansForGunSense

  • sarcasmic||

    only protects the right to own an 18th century musket while serving in a militia

    Dude, that's totally bogus. The 2A isn't specific about the arms it protects. However it is specific about whose arms it protects. Specifically the militia, which is the National Guard. They can have whatever arms they want. However without the 2A the National Guard, and the entire military for that matter, wouldn't have any weapons. I hope people think about that before they try to repeal it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The weekend beat is more overrun with retards than usual. Just glancing down the list, we're looking at, at least, 50% retard.

    This used to be the kind of place where retards would come to argue with libertarians. Now the staff has joined the retards, and the retards think they own the place.

    Maybe they do, but they're still retards. And they're just being retarded. Don't sweat the certified retards too much. It embiggens them.

  • sarcasmic||

    The comments have turned into Idiocracy.

  • sarcasmic||

    The comments have turned into Idiocracy.

  • sarcasmic||

    Even the squirrels agree.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    These are the original ones, they are somewhat better:

    Conservative objections to immigration in meme form.

    Enjoy, my OBL brother.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Those are terrific. Thanks for posting those.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    LOL!

    Those memes DESTROY the anti-open-borders (AKA white nationalist) position. I'm going to e-mail them to my progressive friends.

    #NoBordersNoNations

  • SIV||

    moving toward the Democratic position on guns

    Cato is way ahead of you: Reasonable persons should be able to fashion reasonable restrictions

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Sim Settlements mod gets a thumbs-up. I'm finding it streamlines the settlements mechanics in a way that keeps the vanilla FO4 feel. It's as if Kinggaf reached into the devs' minds and pulled out what they *really* meant to do. They're functional, productive, and I don't have to babysit anymore.

  • Michael Cook||

    A lot of speculative legal paranoia was unleashed in America when electron diffraction spectroscopy made it possible to detect atoms or molecules of specific substances in concentrations as low as one part per million or even one part per billion.

    Next, all that has to happen is for that substance to be labeled a "poison." Any chemical can be a poison if it can be proven that a sufficient concentration of it will interfere with a significant metabolical process of a plant or an animal.

    The problem here is usually headline writers, even by folks who claim to be science journalists. They can have real problems comprehending words like sufficient, or significant. Americans are typically not educated in a way that will encourage intellectual honesty or objectivity about issues that are difficult technically to prove. We like easy, often emotionally simple, answers.

    So we hear blanket claims like, "There is no safe minimum amount of lead in drinking water, or radiation in food, or free asbestos fibers in "pristine" mountain air on Mt. Shasta."

    Of course there is some safe minimum of any poison in everything, else we would all be dead. Perfect purity is not the rule in our world.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Nutmeg. Case in point. It's toxic, and yet the amount needed to make tasty food is less than the amount needed to kill us. Usually. Almost always.

    It's not directly an allergy, except I think this poisons example you mention still hits on the most salient take-away: we cannot make the world 'safe', and more fool us for trying expecting central planners to do so on our behalf when their interests momentarily align our way.

  • sarcasmic||

    Then there are the people who aren't even allergic, but they want stuff labeled so they can be cool and avoid gluten or some shit.

  • DiegoF||

    "Safe level of exposure" is a nonsense phrase not used by scientists except those who are in "public health" advocacy mode, when they are trying to propagandize the public for some fanaticism that justifies their careers. It is an outright lie, one of the biggest cons out there.

    There is no "safe level of exposure" to radon, radiation (including sunlight and smoke detectors--and people!), air or water poison levels, traffic, slip and falls, the countless carcinogens naturally in our food, and any other of the numerous hazards we encounter every day. A government or industry may determine an acceptable level of exposure, based on a cost-benefit analysis that is usually quite cautious indeed. That is the technical term.

    But it won't do to say that e.g. when President Clinton explicitly told OSHA to come up with guidelines banning indoor workplace smoking, they did their research and produced a report that said, "Sorry; indoor pollution levels in even the smokiest workplace don't come anywhere close to being a workplace hazard." The "tobacco scientists" must report the meaningless, "There is no safe level of secondhand smoke" and pretend they are saying something of scientific substance. Because the antitobacco crusade long ago decided--they said this explicitly in internal memos--that since the industry was lying they would take the gloves off themselves. Scientific ethics be damned, this was the time to act under advocate ethics.

  • Echospinner||

    Stochastic effects from radiation or other toxins like tobacco smoke are not nonsense. We know those things cause cancer.

    They are derived from a straight line to zero. That is not consistent with biology.

    In theory it takes only one cell with an induced substitution to start up a cancer. That may or may not not be true.

    https://tinyurl.com/y783cfbj

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