…and miss the more significant role of former Bloomberg health czar Thomas Frieden at the Centers for Disease Control. The Blaze covers my remarks yesterday at a Heritage panel discussion on food freedom.
More: At Independent Women’s Forum, Julie Gunlock thinks I’m letting the First Lady off the hook a bit too much.
He’s currently Mayor Bloomberg’s public health czar in NYC, and he wants to control your lifestyle because you haven’t been doing a good enough job of it. Earlier coverage of Frieden: Sept. 27, 2006 and again, Mar. 3, Mar. 4 and Mar. 9, 2007
“In a twist of science, the law and what some call trans-fat hysteria, [New York City] wholesale bakers are being forced to substitute processed fats like palm oil and margarine for good old-fashioned butter because of the small amounts of natural trans fat butter contains.” (Kim Severson, “Trans Fat Fight Claims Butter as a Victim”, New York Times, Mar. 7). More: Feb. 15, 2005; Jun. 14, Jul. 30, Sept. 27, Oct. 16, Dec. 5, Dec. 10, 2006; Mar. 3, 2007.
Not to pile on, but Walter’s post yesterday about the follies of NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden omitted a lesser-known regulatory change enacted by the Board of Health at the same time as the trans-fat rule: a rule requiring chain and fast food restaurants to put calorie counts on their menus or menu boards. (Because many people who buy Big Macs are counting calories.) A rule which managed to annoy the regulation-friendly New York City Council because Frieden did it without bothering to ask the city or state legislature first. A rule which had the added virtue of being completely counterproductive.
I was a guest this afternoon on Michelle Martin’s live National Public Radio talk show, “Talk of the Nation“, discussing New York City’s proposed ban on most uses of trans fats in restaurants. ABC News “World News Tonight” also had me comment for a news segment on the issue planned for tonight’s broadcast.
On NPR, NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden claimed that it is always possible to duplicate the taste and other gustatory qualities of a trans fat recipe using other fats. For an example of a business that stumbled by buying into this particular premise, see Jun. 30 (West Virginia potato chip maker Mister Bee).
P.S. On the NPR audio clip, check out the section just before I come on where host Martin, interviewing Frieden, does a blind taste testing of two wafer cookies, one made with trans fats and one without. And here’s a mention by Bonnie Erbe at USNews.com (Sept. 27)(attributing to me “typical eloquently opinionated New York style”).
Few Gotham restaurants paid much heed when city health commissioner Thomas Frieden announced supposedly voluntary curbs on the use of partially hydrogenated fats, so now the city is planning on making the restrictions mandatory. Among many, many foods that will apparently need to be either reformulated or bootlegged: Krispy Kreme “Hot Original Glaze” doughnuts. In the New York Sun, reporter Russell Berman quotes my reaction: “When is Nurse Bloomberg planning to let us fill up our own plates?”. (“City Wants to Ban Some Fatty Foods in Restaurants”, Sept. 27; “Freedom Fries” (editorial), Sept. 27).
More scary paternalism in the name of public health from the Bloomberg crew: the New York City government has begun “legally requiring laboratories that do medical testing to report to the Health Department the results of blood-sugar tests for city residents with diabetes — along with the names, ages, and contact information on those patients. City officials are not only analyzing these data to assess patterns and changes in diabetes prevalence in the city, but are planning ‘interventions.’ … If you wish to keep your medical data confidential, you cannot.” Coercive public-health techniques originally seen as needed to combat communicable and infectious disease will now be deployed in hopes of correcting less-than-healthy individual behavior. Where’s HIPAA, the manically overbroad federal patient-privacy law, now that it might actually do some good? (Elizabeth Whelan, “Big Brother Will See You Now”, National Review Online, Apr. 25).