Meanwhile, even former enthusiasts are beginning to give up on the “food desert” theory — opening a supermarket nearby does little to change unhealthy diet habits. So guess what’s next? Yep, calls for more and stronger intervention [Ann Althouse].
Stephanie Francis Ward at the ABA Journal covers the panel discussion I participated in yesterday on local paternalism at the ABA Midyear in Chicago. The other panelists were Prof. Sarah Conly of Bowdoin College, author of Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, and Chicago Alderman George Cardenas, sponsor of a proposal to tax soft drink sales in the city. It was hosted by the ABA’s Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division and moderated by Hawaii land use lawyer Robert Thomas, who has much more at his Inverse Condemnation blog.
- Gee, thanks, NIH: “Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda to Show the ‘Evils’ of Private Alcohol Sales” [Michelle Minton, CEI]
- “So this summer, under the supervision of officials from U.S. Customs, all three thousand two hundred and ninety-seven pounds of Mimolette were tossed into dumpsters and doused in bleach.” [The New Yorker, Dec. 9, subscription; S.F. Chronicle, earlier on French cheese controversy here, here, etc.]
- FDA forced to back off FSMA regs, NYC soda ban loses twice in court, and other highlights of the year in food freedom [Baylen Linnekin] “Americans Think They Should Be Allowed to Buy Foods with Trans Fats and Caffeinated Energy Drinks” [Emily Ekins on new Reason-RUPE poll] “The Dangers of a Soda Tax” [Trevor Burrus] Linnekin podcast on FDA’s trans-fat ban [Cato, Caleb Brown interview]
- “Annals of Closing Statements in Exploding Bottle Cases” [Kyle Graham]
- “Minnesota says raw milk makes more people sick than recognized” [L.A. Times]
- It’s for the children: proposals for regulating in-store food marketing [Jennifer Pomeranz via Public Citizen]
- Federal sugar program devastated domestic candy manufacturing, as WaPo (sometimes) recognizes [Chris Edwards]
- “The FDA’s Ill-Conceived Proposal to Ban Trans Fats” [Baylen Linnekin] Margarine and other butterfat substitutes help in keeping a meal kosher, but FDA appears indifferent to individual preference [Ira Stoll] Can the baker fudge the formula for Baltimore’s Berger cookies? [Baltimore Sun, WTOP/Capital] Organized grocery lobby appears to be going quietly, perhaps a misguided strategy since this sets a precedent for yanking familiar ingredients off Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list, and many activists would like to move on to things like sugar next [Bloomberg Business Week, Doug Mataconis/Outside the Beltway, Michelle Minton/CEI, Bainbridge] Switch to palm oil might accelerate deforestation [Scientific American]
- FDA’s regs implementing Food Safety Modernization Act could tank small farmers and other food operations, commenters write in by thousands [Baylen Linnekin, Jim Slama, HuffPo]
- Proposed Austin curbs on fast food restaurants might ensnare its beloved food trucks [Linnekin]
- Any day now FDA could issue long-awaited, highly burdensome new menu calorie labeling regs [Hinkle] Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (Ind.-ME) introduce bill to excuse grocers and convenience stories from rules and simplify compliance for pizzerias [Andrew Ramonas/BLT]
- “Panel weighs in on soda ban at law school” [NYU News covers my recent panel discussion there with Jacob Sullum and Prof. Roderick Hills, pic courtesy @vincentchauvet]
- “Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use” [NPR via Ira Stoll]
- Nick Farr looks at NYT retrospective on the Stella Liebeck (McDonald’s) hot coffee case [Abnormal Use]
- “Sugar is the most destructive force in the universe” according to expert witness who meets with less than favorable reception in corn syrup case [Glenn Lammi, WLF]
- Even if some of its speedcams were illegal, Montgomery County says it doesn’t plan to issue refunds “because drivers admit guilt when they mail in their signed tickets and pay the fines” [WUSA, auto-plays video]
- Per state’s highest court, “repose statute does not bar the plaintiffs’ wrongful death action because it refers to suits for ‘injury,’ as opposed to ‘death.'” [Alex Stein, Bill of Health] Introduce comparative negligence while also reforming old doctrines like joint/several liability? [Don Gifford and Christopher Robinette via TortsProf]
- Double-blind photo lineups: “Baltimore Police Take Steps to Avoid Wrongful Convictions” [John Ross, Reason]
- State shuts down day care center. An overreaction? [Free-Range Kids]
- Reporter Audrey Hudson worries investigative sources were compromised after her notes were seized in armed Coast Guard raid on husband [Maryland Morning]
- Baltimore detective convicted of shooting himself to get workers’ comp benefits [WBAL]
- Santoni’s grocery, southeast Baltimore institution since 1930s, cites city’s beverage bottle tax as reason for closure [Baltimore Sun, auto-plays video]
- New Maryland laws effective last month include some dubious ideas passed unanimously [Maryland Legislative Watch]
- As we warned at the time: Food Safety Modernization Act shaping up as severe burden for many small, local and artisanal producers [Tom Philpott, Mother Jones via Tim Carney, Dave Runsten and Brian Snyder, CivilEats]
- Bloomberg’s City Hall wants to keep secret the inputs to its food-scold policies. Open up, says Keep Food Legal [Reason]
- More coverage of Heritage food freedom panel I was on [Sihan Zhang, Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, Joe Daly/Accuracy in Academia, earlier]
- How shipping unions sunk food aid reform [Center for Public Integrity]
- California enacts a strong cottage food law, but needs to work on farmers’ markets [Baylen Linnekin; related on Texas]
- Law and public health profs inveigh against “Mountain Dew Mouth,” but is it a real thing? [Reason, Bill of Health, Andrew Sullivan]
- Canada’s OPEC-like maple syrup cartel fights thieves and legitimate competition alike [Lowering the Bar]
I’m back from a speaking swing through Nebraska. At the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, I spoke about food and drink paternalism as exemplified by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiatives in New York, with Prof. Steven Willborn providing a counterpoint from a more liberal perspective. At Creighton University Law School in Omaha, I spoke (as I often do) on the ideological state of the law schools, drawing on my 2011 book Schools for Misrule, with commentary from Profs. Ralph Whitten and Sara Stadler.
Both events were well attended but I was especially pleased at the strong turnout for the talk in Lincoln on food and the nanny state, a new speech I hadn’t tried out before on a general audience. Here’s a description:
The public is increasingly in revolt against “nanny state” interventions, from Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to limit soda sizes in New York, to efforts to ban Happy Meals in San Francisco. Some thinkers dismiss concern about paternalism as merely trivial and personal, not on a par with issues acknowledged as “serious” such as police abuse, free speech, surveillance, and the proper functioning of the legal system. Left unchecked, however, the project of paternalism quickly generates very serious problems in each of those other areas: it gives police and enforcers great arbitrary power, hands a special government megaphone to some speakers while stifling others, funnels uncomfortably personal information into government hands, and fuels abusive litigation. No matter what you think of potato chips, if your interests are in liberty and good government, you should be paying attention.
I’m next scheduled to speak on the food police Sept. 23 at a Heritage Foundation panel discussion with Baylen Linnekin, Nita Ghei, and J. Justin Wilson, hosted by Daren Bakst. Details here. More on my fall speaking schedule here.
The new four-judge decision is unanimous, which means every judge to consider the matter has now agreed that the NYC Department of Health overstepped its legal powers. And they’re right, as I explain here at Cato. Earlier here, here, here, etc.
One person who presumably had not expected today’s result is Emily Bazelon at Slate, who has claimed that Judge Milton Tingling’s trial-court decision was somehow a venture into conservative activism. None of the New York appellate judges heard from today give evidence of sharing that view.
- Watch on the rinds: consumers protest against Mimolette import ban [Cato interview with Jill Erber of Northern Virginia cheese shop Cheesetique, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Mark Steyn on French and U.S. attitudes toward cheese freedom, earlier here, etc.] “The Inside Story of a ‘Juror Revolt’ in Amish Raw Milk Trial” [Modern Farmer] History of Canadian margarine regulation [more from Steyn, NRO]
- Steve Chapman on the utopian quest for zero BAC driving [syndicated/Reason]
- “In addition to its constitutional flaws, California’s foie gras ban is unenforceable.” [Baylen Linnekin]
- Class actions vs. food and beverage defendants soar, “from roughly 19 cases in 2008 to more than 102 in 2012” [Reuters]
- Beware the kale: “The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater” [Erica, NW Edible Life]
- Culinary, legal, insurance and scientific aspects of roadkill [Edible Geography]
- “FDA And Caffeine: Selective Regulation By Unsubtle Threat” [Cory Andrews, WLF]