Food addiction is no joke. In fact, “Experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods” like sugar, fat and salt. (See, e.g., “Hello, My Name is Jocelyn and I'm a Beignet-addict.” Sorry, didn’t mean to joke. But really, who’s been to NOLA lately and hasn’t become a beignet addict?
Actually, as we also know, food addiction caused by sugar, fat and salt also plays an “important role in obesity.” I’m sure you’ve already read, seen or at least head about all the books and movies coverning this problem.
So I, for one, am pleased that, “Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.” Write Politico:
It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate.
There are plenty of naysayers, just as there were in 1994 when Mike Moore, Mississippi’s attorney general, famously suggested suing the tobacco industry. But a number of nutrition and legal experts think a similar strategy could be applied on the food front — especially as obesity-related diseases have surpassed smoking as a major driver of health care costs.…
[Some predicte that] “lawyers will eventually home in on “food addiction,” a theory pioneered by former FDA Commissioner David Kessler.
“If certain fats, sugars, and salt were ‘addictive,’ and companies nonetheless proceeded to market products containing those nutrients … the consumer class action bar could attempt discovery in hoping to find company documents that validate Kessler’s addiction theory,” [said one attorney].
Sometimes, litigation is on the only way to reign in this industry - including retailers - which often operate without much legal accountability. Today, Reuters in the New York Times reports that,
Kroger, the biggest supermarket operator in the United States, faces a lawsuit claiming it deceived consumers by marketing a store brand as products from humanely raised chickens when the animals were raised under standard commercial farming.
The complaint, filed late Tuesday in Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County, is seeking class-action status against Kroger, accusing it of misleading California consumers with claims about the grocer’s “Simple Truth” premium-priced store brand of chicken. The products are packaged with labeling that states the animals were raised “in a humane environment,” but the lawsuit says they are produced by Perdue Farms, which has followed industry practices like electric stunning of birds before slaughter.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating the illnesses of children in three states in recent months that have been linked to Uncle Ben's infused rice served in schools.
The cluster of illnesses have affected children in Texas, Illinois and North Dakota. At three schools in Katy, Texas, 34 students and four teachers experienced skin reactions, burning, headaches and nausea last week after eating Uncle Ben's "Mexican flavor" infused rice. … Mars Foodservices, which produces the product, has recalled 5- and 25-pound bags of various rice products primarily sold to schools, restaurants, hospitals and other commercial establishments. The products, however, can also be found at warehouse retail outlets, the FDA said.
They include the company's roasted chicken, garlic and butter, cheese and Spanish flavors. A full list of the recalled rice items can be found here. The company is recalling all bags and all lot numbers of the products produced in 2013.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also investigating the illnesses, the FDA said.