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Growing Regulation of Food

Updated on June 4, 2012

Why is government expanding its regulation of what you eat and drink?

What you eat is your choice. If you want to drink yourself under the table every night it's your right. At least that's the ideal view of it for a free country.

It is not what we have today in America. The regulation of diet is expanding, too, unavoidably at the expense of your right to choose what goes into your body. Prohibition of all sorts of substances, from alcohol to fat to sugar, is now exploding at an unprecedented rate.

Money was the original motive behind prohibition. In America, the first instance of it was in 1791, when the Federalists outlawed untaxed liquor production in order to protect the New England shippers who imported alcohol from the West Indies. Alexander Hamilton, whose political allies were those business interests, suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion by force in order to enforce the prohibition on unlicensed domestic production, protect his supporters, and preserve federal revenues.

Government became more involved in alcohol prohibition as industrialism grew to become the dominant economic system. The driving motive behind it was again monetary: to keep labor sober so it could be more readily regimented and exploited for greater corporate profit and federal revenues. Factory workers who come in late and hung over don't perform well. The scope of prohibition gradually grew over a period of over a century to encompass more and more recreational drugs, and it continues to grow today. Its function remains the same, though: to discipline citizens into being good little soldiers who follow orders willingly and make money for their employers and the federal government.

Now the state's compulsion to regulate is expanding into diet. Money is still the driving motive. Increasing regulation will bring increasing fees and taxes, but more importantly it is an attempt to drive down the government's medical expenses. As it assumes more responsibility for paying your doctors' bills, it concurrently takes more authority to influence, even to dictate, what you may do in order to control eating habits thought at the time to increase its costs.

Moral justifications are always the paper wrappings of control programs such as these. Morality is never the real cause of them. Tear off that paper and take a look at what is being done to American freedom in the name of better health.


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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I enjoyed reading this Hub. You speak the truth. Big Brother says they are "protecting" us, but are they?? I work in a food technology department back in the '80s and we did tests on foods bought right out of the grocery store. It would shock me when I saw the bacteria we grew from the food.

      I voted this Hub UP, etc. etc.

    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      The agencies never stay within the boundaries of their charters. Government overall does not, and never has. It's the nature of the beast to fatten, to accumulate ever more authority, power and wealth. US government is no exception. Our vaunted independent judiciary has on occasion restrained the growth process, but just as often has been the mouth that feeds it.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I'm only concerned about the government agencies, such as FDA and USDA, that do not follow their mission to protect the well-being of American consumers. Instead, they do not ban BPA, which has been proven dangerous, do not ban pesticides that cause birth defects and neurological damage, or require labeling of GMO products from mutated seeds in order to pacify big corporations (such as Monsanto, who brought to us good old Agent Orange 40 years ago, for which U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War and Vietnamese civilians are still paying with severe health problems). This strategy ensures they can continue to follow the money--lobbyists deep pockets $$$ contributions and prestigious, well-paying jobs on these corporations' boards when they leave the agency they're running corruptly. From their perspective, it's to hell with the American people who should have a safe food and medicine supply, but don't.

      You can still drink yourself under the table every night (many people do), eat all the saturated fat you can consume and eat ten packs of Twinkies (with their high fructose corn syrup) per day....No one is stopping you. However, when you have a heart attack from congested arteries, that might slow you down a bit.

    • scottcgruber profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      I don't see what's so bad about the government encouraging people to be healthier. The preamble of the Constitution directs the government to "promote the general welfare" which this arguably is.

      Now I'll agree that prohibitions are bad policy. They're usually counter-productive, creating a black market for the substance the government is trying to control, leading to crime and gang activity. It happened with alcohol in the 1920s and is happening with drugs today.

      However, more sensible policies - taxes on the bad things and promoting the good things - are what government should be doing. A healthier population benefits everybody through better productivity and reduced health care expenses.

      It's not a loss of freedom. You can still eat what you want and drink what you want. You might have to pay a bit more for the bad stuff, but you can still do it. If you want 32 ounces of soda, you can still buy two 16 ounce cups.

      Michelle Obama asking you to eat your vegetables is not tyranny.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I agree with MickiS--absolutely what I'm saying! (and thanks, hecate-horus)

    • hecate-horus profile image


      6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      I agree with you, DzyMsLizzy!

    • MickiS profile image


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Interesting topic. I agree you should be able to choose what to put into your own body: drink all of the alcohol, eat all of the sugar, etc.

      My only caveat: I do think that we need regulation over the production of food. You should be free to choose to eat whatever you want from a SAFE food supply. My only caveat.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Very true in many respects. What they should be regulating instead, is the host of chemical additives to our food that do everything from fool our bodies into thinking we are dieting (diet soda, e.g.), when in fact it causes more weight gain; chemicals added to make us crave more of a particular snack food so that they can sell us more and more of it, at the expense of our health and well being.

      (Did you know that we consume so many preservatives in our food nowadays, that the body after death no longer decomposes at a natural rate, but remains intact much longer?)

      There does need to be regulation--it is simply being aimed in the wrong direction--at the population, instead of at the giant corporate food industry, whose contributions to the politicians keep the "wolves" away from their doors, leaving them free to virtually poison us all slowly.

      Thank you for speaking the truth about prohibition, and how it has spread, and is still spreading, despite the long-past repeal of the Volstead Act.

      Voted up, interesting, useful and shared--(and wishing for a 'required reading' button...)

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 

      6 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Great hub. This is one of those topics that people really need to be made aware of.

      Voted up and Shared!!

    • Michelle Taylor profile image

      Michelle Taylor 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      This is an interesting topic and I agree with KT Banks that I definitely need to do more research. I knew that food for children is being made healthier and so on due to the increase in obesity in the country but I guess I chose not to look too closely at how easily regulations like that could spiral out of control. And I wouldn't be surprised with the population growth at the rate it is if they don't start brainstorming a sterilization or population control program. Definitely sharing to get the word out!

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 

      6 years ago from Texas

      That is exactly what I'm thinking. Why aren't more people just absolutely throwing a fit of some kind? Maybe because it seems so unbelievable?

    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      I'll cheer you on, KT! If our choices of what we eat are now in the crosshairs of the state, what's next? What we believe and think? Who we sleep with? How many children we can have and how their genetic characteristics must be manipulated?

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 

      6 years ago from Texas

      I don't know what is more shocking to me, the fact that they are actually starting to do this, or the fact that no one is really paying attention.

      You wrote this hub several days ago? And so far there is only one other comment. I've only heard a smidgen of this on the news, and clearly I need to do some more research. I have only heard something about the size of sodas in New York, and then it was barely mentioned.

      I am getting outraged enough that I will blow this up as much as possible with the social outreach I have. Only about 10,000 or so, on various social networks, but it's a start...

    • leroy64 profile image

      Brian L. Powell 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

      Thought provoking. Wouldn't the money brought in by fees and regulations be off-set by the cost of enforcement of food regulations? There are more people pushing food than marijuana, that is a lot of ground to cover.


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