Good Lord, the government really is planning to ban donut sprinkles!

Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State

I thought a friend was joking when he said the government was “going after” sprinkles, but then I saw an item in  this morning’s bulletin from the California Political Review that lead me to Warner Todd Huston’s post at Publius Forum, which in turn lead me to this jaw-dropper from Mike Flynn at Breitbart from before Christmas:

Early next year, the FDA is expected to finalize a new regulation intended to eradicate even trace amounts of partially hydrogenated oils, known as trans fats, from our diets.

Although the amount of trans fats Americans consume has declined significantly in recent years, the FDA’s quest to completely eliminate a particular type of trans fat threatens to eliminate the noble “sprinkle,” used to decorate holiday treats and donuts. Even a small amount of joy is suspect in the FDA’s brave, new, food-monitored world.

In recent years, research has determined that consuming large amounts of trans fats is harmful to the heart. Trans fats have been in the American diet since the 1950s, but recent awareness of its health risks have pushed food companies and restaurants to minimize its use. Today, Americans consume just 1.3 grams of trans fats a day, around 0.6% of total caloric intake. No research has shown this level of consumption to pose any risk.

Flynn goes on to point out the irony in the situation: the very organization that now pushes for a total trans-fat ban, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), in the 1980s and 1990s was urging restaurants and food manufacturers to switch to trans-fats, because they were “healthier.” Oops.

And now we’re supposed to trust them and the FDA on this.

The argument over trans-fats aside, this is another example of the eternal desire of the Nanny State to regulate and control everything in our lives — for our own good, of course. You’re not capable of making your own decisions over your own affairs –what foods to eat, what kind of lighting to use, &c.– so boards of experts, that progressive ideal, have to make them for you.

There’s another imperative behind this and other examples of nanny-statism: the built-in, always-on need of all regulatory agencies to ensure there is a reason for their continued existence and for increasing their budgets. No problem is ever truly solved; there is always some new rule to issue, some standard to tighten, even if there is no real problem that needs fixing. But the regulators need their enemy: To admit they’ve accomplished their goals would mean they don’t need more money, maybe not as many staff. It might even leave them vulnerable to the unthinkable: budget cuts or —gasp!— elimination.

And, of course, there wouldn’t be new jobs for crusading nanny-staters fresh out of graduate school.

Enjoy your sprinkled donuts while you can, before Nanny takes them away.

RELATED: Nanny-statism is a feature of the Administrative State, which gives bureaucratic agencies the power to write rules that have the force of law without democratic accountability. A recent book by Philip Hamburger argues that such powers are not only unconstitutional, they are extra-constitutional, not being recognized by our foundational documents at all. Bureaucratic nonsense like the above, such as banning traditional cookies, makes me sympathetic to the idea.



2 Responses to Good Lord, the government really is planning to ban donut sprinkles!

  1. […] Good Lord, the government really is planning to ban donut sprinkles! […]

  2. JustaPerson says:

    The irony is that you worry about Nanny states banning certain products, but you don’t consider the vast literature showing how certain businesses – who may be well aware of the negative effects of such chemicals and comestibles to our bodies – continue to sell and capitalize on one of our weaknesses, which is, in my humble opinion, the sweet release of chemicals when we ingest a tasty but unhealthy food item, or whatever makes us “feel good” at the expense of our long term health, usually unknowingly. It is closely equivalent to the sale and addiction of drugs. Perhaps you’d be OK with selling those legally as well though, because you believe every man should have the time, knowledge and self control to regulate every single thing he puts in his body, and also understand what the heck most of these products are and the impacts to out health. Most of us don’t have time for that. We need regulatory bodies, unless you’d rather live like wolves, every man for himself. Only the strong will survive, but that’s not how we got as far as we did.

    That’s why we have agencies that do it for us. They are far from perfect, but we can’t simply allow businesses to put whatever it cheapest and most economical into our food, because some of them will do just – with dangerous consequences. I’m not saying that your critique isn’t valid – we also need people such as yourself to question and bring about change. But it’s just as bad to pick and choose what entities to criticize and ignore the failings of others. It rings of hypocrisy.

    I am not a lover of government. I consider myself a fiscal conservative. But I’m not so naive to think that a Nanny state is the pinnacle of evil while businesses and outside organizations – also run by human beings – are somehow devoid of needing any regulation when it comes to food and other products. Money and power makes some men nefarious, and we’d be naive to think any large entity, be it public or private, has our best interest at heart.

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