Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

May 17, 2013

Food regulations of the future?

The federal government recently announced new regulations for buying fast food.

Starting June 1, upon entering a national fast food chain restaurant or before ordering via a drive-thru, each patron must undergo a Body Mass Index (BMI) analysis. The score will determine portion sizes for adults and children and restrict the options available.

Scores are: underweight, normal, overweight, obese, and morbidly obese. Automated tickets issued from the machines will be color coded to alert servers of a patron’s options.

If a person is obese, for example, he or she will only be able to order sugar-free drinks and meals with a combined 500 calories. Those items will be color coded on the menu to make choices easily identifiable, according to Wendy Smith, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the agency that wrote the regulations.

Those who wish to speed the process may apply for wrist bands, which will allow patrons to bypass the BMI calipers. Fingerprints will also be taken at checkout to ensure that those ordering receive one portion.

Cindy Dvorak, the former head of DHHS and CEO of Calipers for Change, the company chosen by the government to launch the new program, said, “Our devices will quickly, accurately, and discretely inform patrons of their fat ratio and help them take positive steps to achieve an appropriate weight and a fulfilling life.”

But not everyone is happy with the new rules.

The head of industry group Chain Restaurants of America said it will be filing a federal lawsuit against the regulations on Fourteenth Amendment grounds of unequal treatment under the law.

Fast food patron Joy de Cocinar admits she needs to lose a few pounds but does not want to be stigmatized by the new rules. She plans to visit her local fried chicken stand in Charlotte, N.C., which is exempt from the regulations, more frequently instead of her usual Kentucky Fried Chicken to fulfill a weekly chicken and biscuits craving.

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