Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 15, 2013

EDITORIALS: Economic war with China; Ban on trans fats

(Continued)

So the government is trying to save lives with a proposed ban. The Food and Drug Administration predicts it will prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year.

Food manufacturers don’t seem particularly upset. They’ll go on making their products, with or without trans fats, and continue to realize profits. Alternatives already exist.

But the outrage from others is predictable. Forget the lives being saved, this is yet another example of the government trying to control some aspect of people's lives.

Consider these two elements: Not everybody is equipped to save oneself from nutritional peril, and needless exposure to heart disease costs us all in Medicare and Medicaid expenditures.

If the debate over the people's right to choose trans fats involved informed choice, there might not be any debate at all. Intelligent adults armed with the information they need can indeed decide their own diet without the government’s help.

But not everyone is an intelligent adult. What about millions of children who visit vending machines stuffed with bags of snacks with unhealthy ingredients? Should they be left to their own discretion in deciding what to eat? We should be thankful that somebody is looking out for them.

And if thousands of heart attacks can be avoided every year without compromising the taste of food, every taxpayer should rejoice.

It’s not as if muffins are being banned. They’re not — just the worst ingredient, which will be replaced with a better one.

In the United States, let freedom ring … with healthful, life-saving portions.

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