29 October, 2002

Government Oversight

Hold on to your hats: California congressman Mike Honda wants to give the FDA the power "to add candy warning labels and pull the most dangerous sweets off store shelves", in part because some children choked on gel candies.

The FDA -- the agency responsible for food safety -- would establish an office of Choking Hazard Evaluation. Currently, the agency does not test any food sold in the United States for choking dangers, despite the fact that thousands more children choke on food than on toys each year.

Oooh, yes! Please please PLEASE Mr. Congressman, please expand the size of the government some more. Honestly, I'm just not paying enough in taxes each year, I'd like to pay more so that a group of people can figure out whether or not certain food constitutes a choking hazard. Sadly, someone beat me to the pithy quote for this:

"All foods are intended to be placed in the mouth and, therefore, all foods have some potential for choking,'' the letter stated.

Let's imagine some future warning labels on our food products:

  • Warning: These eggs are tasty, conveniently sized, and relatively inexpensive. But please, do not attempt to re-create the scene in Cool Hand Luke where Paul Newman eats fifty hard-boiled eggs.
  • Caution: Setting your toaster oven on high may cause this bread to burn.
  • Attention: Peas represent an attractive nuisance. Children may attempt to insert peas into their noise. Please keep all peas away from cribs and young children.
  • Danger: Eating the food contained within this package may result in the following: choking, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, diabetes, migraines, cancer, gout, scurvy, heartburn, plague, salmonella, blurred vision, hyperactivity, hypothermia, brain freeze, tunnel vision, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, mononucleosis, smallpox, cowpox, chicken pox, a pox upon your family, influenza, rockin' pneumonia, boogie-woogie blues, shakes, shivers, palsy, hair loss, hair growth, loss of life, loss of limb, kidney failure, appendicitis, tonsilitis, hernia, low sperm count, ovarian cysts, hemorrhoids, pregnancy, hysterical pregnancy, fever, chills, temperature stasis, dehydration, over-hydration and/or muscle spasms. Please avoid eating this food at all costs.

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