The food nannies are at it again, said the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. The Los Angeles City Council last week unanimously approved an ordinance banning new fast food restaurants that serve poor people. But reducing dining choices is a “ridiculously paternalistic” way to attack the obesity epidemic and other health problems.
Local governments can’t just proclaim that the poor will henceforth “eat upscale, healthy food,” said the Victorville, Calif., Daily Press. That kind of “arrogance” will only chase away grocery stores and restaurants, depriving depressed areas of jobs, and make it harder for healthier fast-food chains, such as Subway, to offer the choices people need.
The moratorium will actually encourage businesses offering healthier fare to move in, said the Los Angeles Spanish-language daily La Opinion in an editorial. Besides, it won’t come close to depriving residents of the area in question, South L.A., of cheeseburgers, as it only bans new outlets for a year and the area has too many fast-food joints already.
There are other ways to make eating right easier, said Harold Goldstein and Eric Schlosser in the Los Angeles Times. New York, for example, is demanding that restaurants put calorie counts on their menus. Restaurant chains complain this restricts their freedom to do business, but so do health inspections, so customers have a right to know “what we're putting into our bodies.”