Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Choke's on the Stores

In yesterday's NY Sun, the paper reports on the proposed city council legislation to try to prevent young children from choking: "Popcorn, pistachios, Tic Tacs, and Skittles are the latest threat to local children that the City Council is moving to neutralize. Council Member Domenic Recchia, who represents parts of Brooklyn, has introduced a bill that would require store owners across the city to put up signs or labels warning that certain bite-size foods could endanger the lives of children under the age of 5."

Now we apparently are way out of the loop on this crucial threat to our young because we didn't realize that, absent this kind of a warning, children would be choking to death in epidemic proportions. Our concerns are along the "road to hell and good intentions" line. As we told the Sun: "A lobbyist for the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, Richard Lipsky, called the bill "overly burdensome...In an economic climate where food stores, bodegas, and supermarkets are going out of business, it is not the time to add regulatory burdens that make it more difficult for these neighborhood stores to survive and service their community," Mr. Lipsky said in an interview."

Which doesn't mean that some kind of early warning system can't be devised that doesn't make the local store owner, once again, a regulatory target. We have heard that State Senator Carl Kruger has a bill that would require manufacturers to put warning labels on their packaging-a measure that would be more equitable than the current city council initiative. And the Sunadds this late addendum on the matter: "Correction: State Senator Carl Kruger introduced a bill in 2007 that would require labels on foods which present a choking hazard to children under four years of age and fine vendors $100 for every day they failed to comply. An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the sponsor of this bill."

Still, we wonder where all of this interference with local commerce will end; and when legislators will determine that it's the responsibility of parents to protect their kids from the danger of bubble gum. The infantilization of the public should stop before there's nothing that escapes the regulatory regimen.


The NY post weighs in on this measure today on its editorial page: "Just consider a measure recently introduced by Brooklyn's Domenic Recchia taking aim at what's apparently New York's next great health menace:


And peanuts.

No joke: Recchia's bill, if passed, would slap up to a $250 fine on merchants who fail to warn customers that certain products are a choking hazard for children under the age of 5. Which is about as close to a literal infantilization of ordinary New Yorkers as one's likely to see."