So This Is How the F.D.A. Makes Decisions

In the F.D.A.’s view, the law called for moviegoers to know that many a buttery bucket of popcorn had more calories than two Big Macs, but Ms. DeParle, President Obama‘s chief health adviser, thought the requirement was unnecessary and would probably be lampooned on Fox News as an especially silly example of the government intrusions that conservatives often mocked as the nanny state.

Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the F.D.A. commissioner appointed by Mr. Obama, soon heard about the White House’s displeasure and called Ms. DeParle at home one evening, people with knowledge of the call confirmed. The women had a decidedly chilly conversation. Within days, the F.D.A., an agency charged with protecting public health, backed down and dropped the notion of calorie counts for foods served in movie theaters and on airplanes.

More from Gardiner Harris in The New York Times.

Comments (6)

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  1. Bruce says:

    No surprise for me.

  2. Jeff says:


  3. Greg says:

    If this had happened under a Republican administration, the mainstream media would be howling.

  4. Brian says:

    There is no telling what the FDA will be allowed to get away with in the second term.

  5. Devon Herrick says:

    It’s rather sad to think that the freedom enjoyed by Americans for 200 years will ultimately be undone not from an external enemy with an advancing Army. Rather, our historic freedoms will slowly erode — undermined by people who consider themselves patriots, whose only desire is to help people and enjoy a little additional job security at the cost of creating dependency.
    The notion that movie theaters and airlines need to disclose calorie counts is a little absurd. I’m all I favor of transparency. But does anyone actually go to the theater and or fly so often that knowing the number of calories consumed would make a difference? I don’t know why anyone would eat at a theater or on an airplane (except business class on British Airways).

  6. Buster says:

    What’s really sad is the (Democratic) Administration’s primary concern was about the likelihood of a public outcry that would gain traction; not about the absurdity of the regulation.

    Even more disturbing is that only half of the respective pair of bureaucrats realized it was not worth the effort (politically) to force movie theaters and airlines to post nutritional information.