Defeats suffered by food police provide reason to be grateful

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: November 22, 2012
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OKLAHOMA State University Professor Jayson Lusk is thankful this day for a few morsels that turned up at the ballot box on Nov. 6. Many Oklahomans will no doubt share Lusk's sentiment.

He points to losses suffered by the food police in California. Statewide, voters rejected Proposition 37, an initiative requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods. In the cities of El Monte and Richmond, Calif., voters said no to the idea of adding a tax of 1 cent per ounce to the price of sugared soft drinks.

The attack on soft drinks isn't new. In New York City, many establishments can no longer sell sodas larger than 20 ounces, thanks to a recently enacted ordinance that was pushed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This is par for the main course in the Big Apple, which previously banned artificial trans fats in restaurant food.

Writing this week in The Wall Street Journal, Lusk, a professor of agricultural economics, said Prop 37's defeat “marks the death throes of a self-proclaimed ‘food movement' that urges ever-greater government intrusion into the nation's grocery stores and kitchens.”

A different sort of food movement continues — one in which consumers, through their spending, have prodded producers and retailers to grow and sell better-tasting, healthier food. It has spawned farmers markets, niche producers, Whole Foods stores, etc.

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