HHS Secretary to Regulate Serving Sizes and Recipes for Cheeseburgers and Fries

Section 4205 of the new health reform law, which requires chain restaurants and vending machines to provide nutrition notices, instructs the HHS Secretary to:

Consider standardization of recipes and methods of preparation, in reasonable variation in serving size and formula of menu items, space on menus and menu boards, inadvertent human error, training of food service workers, variations in ingredients…

HT to John Hoff of the Galen Institute.

Comments (10)

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  1. Ken says:

    Does the Secretary have the power to order Berger King to play Finlandia while we eat our cheese bergers and fries?

  2. artk says:

    Ken, I don’t know about playing Finlandia, but I can guarantee you that Berger Kings standardization of serving sizes and recipes is tighter then any government regulation could impose.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    “… standardization of recipes and methods of preparation, in reasonable variation in serving size…”

    I gather this means fast food chains will only be allowed to vary their marketing of the government-approved, dry, tasteless mini-sized burgers they are allowed to sell.

    I wonder if Burger King will change their “have it your way” campaign to “have it the government’s way.”

  4. Vicki says:

    Ken, nice play on the word “Sebelius.” Not everyone will catch it. I did.

  5. Crystal says:

    They can regulate what is in our food and what size to serve but they can not make us eat it nor tell us how much we can buy. There by possibly putting all restaurants out of business for lack of people eating there for the content of the food and cost of providing enough food for our families hungry tummy’s. (smaller serving sizes just means we have to buy more food to feed ourselves, right?)

  6. Tom H. says:

    This gives a whole new meaning to the idea of big government. Sebelius is going to dictate recipes and menu proportions? Whatever happened to freedom of association and contract.

  7. Virginia says:

    Won’t people just start cooking more often at home? It’s much harder to regulate what you do with that pound of hamburger meat than it is to police restaurants.

    On the one hand, this is a ridiculous thing to do. (Why can’t people just carry around salt shakers or other flavor-enhancing product in their cars?) On the other, I think the American public has let the government in without saying a word. If you allow the government to pay for your health care, then you allow the government to own your health.

    Once you say, “Ok, Big Brother, you can treat my heart attack, which was due to fast food consumption,” then you are also, by tacit consent, saying, “I am not enough of an adult to take care of myself. Please police my consumption.”

    This is, of course, easy for me to say because I’ve never had a life-threatening, self-imposed condition. If I did, it would be much harder to say, “I can’t pay for this treatment, and since I’m responsible for my bad eating habits, go ahead and let me die.”

  8. Linda Gorman says:

    Virginia, when I’ve got a teenage sports team in the back of the car, I’m facing a two hour drive, and everyone is so hungry that the next step will be to kill and eat the driver, I am NOT thinking about cooking at home.

    I want really, really, fast food.

  9. Virginia says:

    I’m not saying that people will swtich to 100% home cooking, but it certainly changes the incentive system. I would be tempted to cook at home on the weekend and then take food with me during the week. Or perhaps people will start their own cooking coops where they exchange ready-made meals.

    But, I don’t have teenagers, so I’m mainly speculating about how my own actions would change.

  10. Bart Ingles says:

    HHS Secretary to Regulate Serving Sizes…

    Two words: White Castle.