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The food police finally get their smoking gun

By Tom DeWeese
web posted September 5, 2005

French fries: So tasty...so deadly!
French fries: So tasty...so deadly!

We have been warning for years that they were using the exact same play book used to destroy the smoking industry. Now the food police have what they've been looking for. A special report that says french fries cause cancer. There's no proof to the claim, of course. Just a Swiss study done three years ago that said Acrylamide, a by product of chemicals and high heat found in deep fried foods might have a link to cancer. In fact, since that study first came out, there have been several more issued to dispute it. There is no peer-reviewed, sound science to prove the statement. But one disputed article is all it took.

Suddenly, after three years, the food police decided it was in their interest to resurrect the study and make an issue of it. Now, true to the play book, the attorney general of the State of California, Bill Lockyer, is calling for warning labels on potato chips and fries. The attorney General lost no time in filing law suits against nine food chains and snack-food makers, including McDonalds, Wendy's, and Frito Lay.

However, as Frank Muir of the Idaho Potato Industry pointed out, "We've been eating Acrylamide since man invented fire. Ever since we started cooking foods, there's been Acrylamide that we've been consuming."

Why so is the California Attorney General in such a haste to force the heavy hand of the law into the market place yet again? Do you know how much money states have made through class action suits against cigarette manufacturers? This is a new way to raise state revenue without having to raise taxes. It's kind of a new Eminent Domain scheme where government just grabs a company's profits when it wants to. First the warning labels, then the suits in the name of the poor victims of the potato chip profit mongers.

This is how we do things in America now. An unsubstantiated report (perhaps even just a news release) from a group or individual that has a political agenda. The perpetrators know it's coming. They prepare behind the scenes and, suddenly, we have an instant nationwide outcry for "something to be done." Government officials puff up to the microphone to tell us how they are protecting us all. The lawyers just want to get "justice" for the pre selected, ready-made clients. And another American right disappears – for the common good, of course. As Attorney General Lockyer says, "I'm not telling them to stop eating potato chips and french fires…" The arrogance of that thought should speak volumes about how this guy thinks. He certainly does think he has the power to tell us to stop doing things in our everyday lives – if he can find the right excuse to scare people and stampede them in the right direction.

By the way, just for the record, there never was a peer-reviewed scientific report that proved secondhand smoke ever existed, either. It was just an internal report at the EPA, put out in a press release. That's how easy it is to destroy any industry. Guilt by innuendo. And they'll keep doing it to industry after industry as long as ignorant, gullible, hateful Americans think it's OK to take the profits of those evil corporations. Just be careful. Something you like may be next on the list. Perfume and household pets have been mentioned. All it takes is a smoking gun – real or made up. It really doesn't matter.

Tom DeWeese is president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots think tank located in Warrenton, VA. The Center maintains a website at www.americanpolicy.org.


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