NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Gluttonous Lawyers Suing Over Fat

September 24, 2003

Greedy lawyers have been working steadily on a campaign to make restaurants and food manufacturers legally liable for the spread of obesity. Sadly, they are making progress, says Bruce Bartlett.

In June, the Public Health Advocacy Institute in Boston held a conference on legal approaches to the obesity epidemic:

  • More than 100 lawyers and "consumer advocates" (i.e., left-wing busybodies) heard from prominent veterans of tobacco lawsuits on how to duplicate their success.
  • The goal of the attendees is to make themselves multimillionaires while pretending that their motive is a high-minded concern for public health.

It would be laughable if it hadn't already worked so well with the tobacco companies, which, not coincidentally, also own many food operations.

Nevertheless, Kraft Foods, a division of Altria Group (formerly known as tobacco giant Philip Morris) thinks it can buy off its prosecutors by cutting portion sizes, reducing fat and sugar in its products, and scaling back marketing to children. These may all be worthwhile things to do, but to its enemies it is virtually an admission of guilt. Just as warning labels on cigarettes proved to be no defense against tobacco lawsuits, neither will Kraft's preemptive capitulation. It will only embolden its enemies and provide new lines of legal attack, says Bartlett.

Source: Bruce Bartlett, "Gluttonous Lawyers Suing Over Fat, National Center for Policy Analysis, September 24, 2003.  


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