Representative Scott DesJarlais, a freshman Republican from Tennessee, has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that aims to “prohibit the use of federal money for advertising campaigns against any food or beverage deemed safe and lawfully marketed under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” according to his site.
DesJarlais’ view is that “The government is reaching too far into our lives in trying to regulate personal habits.” The congressman also cited the need to protect products “made by American workers.” As an example, according to CNN Money, the Coca-Cola company employs about 140,000 people worldwide, though much of the company’s business and manufacturing takes place overseas. The American Beverage Association claims its industry provides “more than 227,000 jobs” in America.
The director of public health in Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, opposes the legislation, stating, “we need to educate people about what’s in the food they eat.” He also points out that the federal government has sponsored effective ads warning against the dangers of smoking that helped change American perceptions of the practice.
The California Center for Public Health Advocacy has published an infographic (pdf) with statistics about the relationship between soda intake and obesity.
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