X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The Republican-controlled House voted Wednesday to shield fast-food chains from lawsuits that blame them for making people fat. Nicknamed the “cheeseburger bill,” the measure stems from lawsuits accusing McDonald’s of causing obesity in tens of thousands of children. The food industry has asked Congress and state legislatures to protect it from liability, and so far, 21 states have agreed. “You cannot litigate personal choices and lifestyles,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said potential costs from the lawsuits threaten the food industry and its 12 million employees and raise food prices for consumers. “These suits would be laughable if they were not so harmful,” Sensenbrenner said. The measure, which won approval on a 306-120 vote, would prevent class action lawsuits blaming restaurants and food companies for weight gain or obesity. The House passed a similar bill last year, but the Senate ran out of time to act. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and nearly one-third are obese, while obesity among children and teenagers more than doubled in the past 30 years, according to government estimates. Critics of the bill contend that a better way to make people responsible for how they eat is to require nutrition information on menus and menu boards. “But of course this silly legislative effort has nothing to do with encouraging personal responsibility and everything to do with pleasing a powerful and politically connected industry,” said Michael Jacobson, director of the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest. A food industry lobbyist said lawsuits against food companies are the wrong way to fight obesity in America. “More energy must be put into solving the problem of obesity, and less into assigning blame for the purpose of collecting legal fees,” said Hunt Shipman, executive vice president of government affairs and communications for the Food Products Association. Courts have dismissed most obesity claims, but an appeals court in New York reinstated one lawsuit against McDonald’s earlier this year. It is still pending. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.