The Assault on Bad Food: Tobacco-style Litigation as an Element of the Comprehensive Scheme to Fight Obesity, 67 Food and Drug Law Journal, 65-82 (2012)

March 2012

Obesity in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions. A dilemma of this sort must be attacked with a comprehensive, multi-faceted scheme. Litigation against the companies providing dangerous food has been called trivial, but allowingbmarket forces to regulate has proven ineffective. The history of tobacco litigation has revealed that industry is willing to ignore dangers, act solely in the interest of profit, and completely disregard public health. The notion that all consumers have enough information to make an autonomous choice and focus only on health when purchasing food borders is unrealistic. Legislatures, that will ignore the huge lobbying dollars spent by the food industry , and enact laws with only the public health of the citizenry in mind, fall in the same category of naiveté. Corporations are obligated to shareholders, who are concerned universally with profits. To get the attention of food industry, it is necessary to hit them where they notice - in the wallet - by way of legal damage awards. The battle against bad food needs to be fought on every possible front and the courtroom should be one theater of combat. As evidence of fraudulent and deceptive industry practice is brought to light, state attorneys general have a responsibility to take the same course of action as tobacco, by filing fraud suits to recoup state funds spent on the negative health effects of the detrimental food. 


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