Fast Food: No Legal Recourse

Written By Steps To Faculty Published June 8th, 2010

Do you eat fast food? You must. According to the House of Representatives, the fast food industry is a significant part of our national economy. It did not become that way be having few customers. Many independent researches have found that fast food is unhealthy and causes weight gain. This research suggests there is something “faulty” with fast food. Our nation is becoming more obese by the day and many obese people are attributing their weight gain to fast food consumption.

Step 1: In the documentary Super Size Me, it was proved that eating fast food promotes poor health and weight gain—even without over eating. In response to this “faulty” product, some are turning to the legal system for justice. However, a cleverly devised bill was created called the “Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act of 2005.” This bill was sent to the house (H.R. 554) and on October 21, 2005 is passed by a vote of 306 to 120. The bill is now in front of the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

Step 2: The House of Representatives, in this case, found the following:

1. The food and beverage industries are a significant part of our national economy.
2. The activities of the manufacturers and sellers of food and beverages substantially affect interstate and foreign commerce.
3. A person’s weight gain, obesity or a health condition associated with a person’s weight gain or obesity is based on a multitude of factors, including genetic factors and the lifestyle and physical fitness decisions.
4. Fostering a culture of acceptance of personal responsibility is one of the most important ways to promote a healthier society, lawsuits seeking to blame individual food and beverage providers for a person’s weight gain, obesity or health condition are legally frivolous and economically damaging.
5. The American food industry is the nation’s leading private sector employer.

Step 3: If you notice in the above findings, the basis of this soon-to-be law is economically motivated and not devised for the betterment of a healthier society. In their purpose and summary statement, the House of Representatives basically said that fast food establishments should not be held liable for the damage their products cause due to “over-consumption.” What is interesting is that these fast food companies have never, to my knowledge, defined what “proper-consumption” is. How can you have over-consumption when you have not defined what proper-consumption is?

If a typical American simply eats his or her regular three meals a day at a food establishment and his or her health deteriorates as a result, shouldn’t that establish be held responsible for serving a “faulty” product? H.R. 554 is an attempt to remove the liability of food providers and silence the legal resource by consumers. The next time you walk into a fast food establishment, see if you can locate the “proper-consumption” documentation.


Roger Due

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