Tales of the Red Tape #5: Calorie Counts Forced Down Our Throats

You’re too fat, and vending machines are to blame. The government says so and is doing something about it.

To temper the snack food cravings we are supposedly incapable of controlling, Congress is forcing vendors to post the calorie counts of vending machine items. Thus, we’ll supposedly pick the healthier brand of potato chips, cookies, candy, and soft drinks.

According to the designated enforcer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the new regulation will add 14 million hours of extra work each year to vending machine operations.

The FDA openly admits that there’s no demand for such labels: “Consumers may ignore future costs of overeating, relative to the current gains from eating, even when they understand the connection. Therefore, consumers do not generally demand calorie and other nutrition information for food away from home. … Given the costs and the uncertain reception for calorie information that many consumers appear not to care about, most vending machine operators have chosen not to display calorie information.”



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