The food war is heating up.
And sooner or later your freedom of choice is likely to become a casualty.
The latest assault comes from Assemblyman William Monning, D-Santa Cruz. He’s pushing a state law to ban food trucks from operating within 1,500 feet of any private or public school from 6 am. to 6 p.m. on school days. Justification for the law is his assertion mobile food vendors are the “singular most undermining element” to efforts to improve healthier nutrition in schools.
If you assume that’s correct and Monning gets the law passed, rest assured the next step would be to going after brick-and-mortar food vendors within 1,500 feet of schools that don’t meet the food criteria dictated by 120 men and women in Sacramento.
That means Taco Bell, the Ironhorse Deli, LaMexicana Market, and The Pizza Guys plus others would be targeted simply because they are within 1,500 feet of Manteca High. Their criminal act is having food and drink products that are high-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar.
Those who push such laws are smug in their belief that they are going to save people from eating themselves to death. They also like to point to the high cost to society - especially taxpayers - when it comes to picking up the tab for illnesses that can be triggered in part by the consistent and long-term overindulgence of certain types of junk food.
I’m the last person that will argue that high-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar food or drinks are good for anyone. I’m so far gone that I’d argue even in moderation isn’t a wise thing. My dietary habits for the past seven years reflect that.
However, that certainly doesn’t give me the right to impose my food views on others. The freedom to individually choose what you eat shouldn’t have to be a right that is codified by the constitution. It should be a given.
It is one thing to regulate what a child can or cannot be served in a school cafeteria or access from a vending machine on campus. It is an entirely different matter to restrict what they can or can’t buy off campus. Creating junk food-free zones around schools that are the virtual equivalent of drug-free zones is going way over the top.
It is such Nanny State regulation that is driving voters to quasi-libertarians such as Ron Paul. And it is little wonder polling numbers show Paul’s biggest sources of age group support are from those in their 20s and 30s.
They know what it is like to be on the receiving end of government edicts crafted to protect young people from all sorts of evils that will supposedly kill them.
Individual freedoms should be tempered by the need to not trample on others’ rights. They should not be curtailed simply because a segment of society believes it knows what is better for you to do with day-to-day decisions such as what you put into your stomach.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-249-3519.