Could We Be Next?

If you’ve been following the news outside of our industry lately, you’d know that the Food and Drug Administration has recently proposed putting out new and stark warning labels on cigarettes. The idea is to scare people into trying to quit.

Therefore, instead of the standard “Surgeon General’s Warning: May Cause Lung Cancer” on packages of cigarettes, we could see pictures of toe tags with the message that cigarettes can cause fatal diseases or pictures of breathing apparatus with a message talking about shortness of breath caused by the use of cigarettes.

While we understand fully the impetus to impose such dire warnings in an effort to get more and more people to quit their habits, we do wonder how long it will be before such warnings end up being slapped onto food and restaurant menus.

Calorie Counts Required

Readers in certain cities know already that they have been required to post information about calorie counts and fat content on their menus for many of their dishes. This has so far not had much impact on people’s choices.

Imagine however if our menus had to include warnings that “eating this food could lead to diabetes.” Or maybe when a Chinese restaurant includes MSG, they’ll be required to put on a label warning that it may cause adverse reactions in certain people.

These are the kinds of warnings we currently see on packs of cigarettes so it’s not a stretch to believe that such warnings could be required on our menus and or on packaged foods.

The Next Level

We don’t know if the new rules that the FDA has proposed regarding labeling with pictures will ever end up on cigarette packs. Nor are we going to take a position on the subject, knowing that some of our readers are going to be staunchly against it.  After all, many of us make our living from offering restaurants that allow smoking. However, we feel it’s important to mention this and to ask ourselves, could our industry be the next one targeted for sterner warnings?

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