'Cheeseburger Bill' Has Good Backing

Published online: Mar 10, 2004
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The United States House of Represenatives is considering a bill that would hold consumers responsible for obesity, not restaurants or foodservice companies.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ric Keller (R-FL), protects restaurants and foodservice companies from an expected onslaught of frivolous litigation, according to The Center for Consumer Freedom.

A 2003 Gallup poll showed that nearly nine in 10 Americans oppose the idea of holding fast-food companies legally responsible for diet-related health problems.

Two out of three U.S. households surveyed by ACNielsen said parents or guardians are to blame for obesity in children 17 and under, with fast-food restaurants blamed by only 10 percent and food manufacturers by 1 percent.

Some 84 percent of those surveyed placed the primary responsibility for Americans' weight problems on "individuals" who do not exercise.

Because fast-food hamburgers are almost always sold with french fries, the potato industry has been taking a hit as well. Because of this at least one fast-food restaurant, McDonalds has removed super-sized orders from its offerings. Large servings of fries are still available.

"The public is fed up with special interests playing the blame game," said Center for Consumer Freedom Executive Director Richard Berman. "Unprincipled trial lawyers shouldn't be using our dinner plates as a launching pad to find their next cash cow. Congress should listen to the resounding opposition of state legislatures and their constitutents who see thes obesity lawsuits as frivolous and financially motivated." (See consumerfreedom.com.)

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