OK, enough's enough. I realize that most of America's school children are so fat that the jiggle of their flesh resembles the rhythmic motion of a lava lamp, and that many of us adults are so portly that forklifts have replaced pallbearers at the average funeral, but does really mean that a bunch of busybodies have to take it upon themselves to drag Starbucks and KFC
into court because too many people don't understand that ingesting half a quart of cream or that chasing a few pieces of extra crispy with buttermilk biscuits and gravy might cause some health problems down the road? (Yes, that may have been the longest sentence I've ever written.):NEW YORK (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp. (SBUX.O) may be next on the target list of a consumer-health group that this week sued the operator of the KFC fried chicken restaurant chain for frying foods in oils high in harmful trans fat.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest said it is planning to campaign against the global cafe chain because of the increased risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer associated with high-calorie, high-fat products it sells.And the possibility of legal action against Starbucks, similar to the case it is taking against KFC owner Yum Brands Inc. (YUM.N), has not been ruled out, said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson.
And get this--the union that represents Starbucks workers in three New York stores is joining the effort, and it is upset because the coffee chain actually allows them to eat and drink as much as they want:The union contends that Starbucks staff gain weight when they work at the chain. They are offered unlimited beverages and leftover pastries for free during their shifts.
Notice the policy is that the employees are offered free food and drink, not that they are forced to consume said goods. Basically, this union is saying that its members are so weak-willed that they can't help but to load up on frappuccinos and seven-layer bars until they have to be rolled out of the store at closing time.
Please. It is a serious problem that so many of us are overweight, and I have no beef with anyone who wants to pour money--private or public--into educating people about proper eating habits and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I have a big problem with people trying to force businesses--through lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits--into altering their products because they offend someone else's sensibilities.
Does Starbucks claim that their drinks are healthy? I've been in plenty of Starbucks, believe me, and I've yet to see a sign that reads "A latte a day keeps the doctor away." And as for this whole trans fat business, one of the reasons restaurants turned to partially hydrogenated oils was because they were pressured by health groups to stop using beef tallow and palm oils
, which were high in saturated fat.
In other words, it was the law of unintended consequences at work. So maybe all these do-gooders should just leave restaurants alone, and allow consumers to make their own decisions, rather than trying to clog up our courts like their foes have clogged our arteries.