Supermarket chieftains bemoan the yoke of interference

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Man, these people just don’t get it.

At the FMI mid-winter executive conference, a panel of supermarket mucky-mucks traded pats on the back while complaining that the government’s regulation of their industry is way overdone.

First, alert the media: Big business types think government regulation is onerous. What robber baron, what sweatshop operator, what industrial polluter, what gangster ever thought that government intrusion into his affairs was justified?

Self-regulation can work, if you want it to

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I thought I’d discuss self-regulation in a different context than in my last post, which was titled, “‘Self-regulation?’ That’s like ‘no regulation,’ right?” Then I was referring to Big Food, which argues that it can police itself and therefore deserves no interference from public-health meddlers.

Again: Is there a problem or not?

As an editor of 30 years and a paid wordsmith for even longer, I am sensitized to the use of language, and I continue to be tickled by the way Big Food twists the words of others to make their arguments seem absurd.

A case in point is how the soda industry is reacting to New York City's ban on super-large sodas. They proclaim the unfairness of putting all of obesity's blame on soda alone, for example, when no is doing that.

Oh no! The food industry could go under!

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A proposed standard for nutrition claims in New Zealand and Australia is being opposed by an industry group.

Yes, I know, that's hardly news. After seeing the US food industry insist on no more than voluntary guidelines and then using tens of millions and all its other muscle to defeat those, it's clear that the industry will truck no curb, no matter how innocuous.

The obesity solution: Less talk, more caring

So it turns out that when I wrote yesterday about the Jane Brody squib in the Times yesterday, referred there by my friend Ron-the-voracious-reader, I had actually been referred slightly elsewhere, to the mainbar of what Brody wrote. She was reporting the release of a series of reports in the British medical periodical The Lancet that address the growing obesity epidemic.

The tobacco playbook

The "tobacco playbook" is legend among capitalists, especially those who want to keep selling a product that clearly has adverse health effects for those who buy it. And it should be, considering that for decades after it was clear that ingesting tobacco or its smoke was noxious, the playbook made it possible for companies to continuing with relatively few curbs, and tobacco continues to be sold even today.

Playbook practices include lying, delaying, misdirecting, and obstructing at every turn. Such tactics have nothing to do with claiming right or virtue, two concepts you want to have on your side but are all but meaningless when you're in the trenches. I've always thought this lesson has been much better taken in by conservatives vs. liberals, and capitalists vs. crusaders.

I've discussed the topic before, so why bring up this topic again? Because the forces of sugary soda are deploying them again, according to Reuters. Read on.

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