No obesity lawsuits here

The Legislature should protect food industry from frivolous lawsuits.

Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota state Legislature could soon protect fast food companies from lawsuits that blame them for causing obesity.
Dubbed the âÄúcheeseburger bill,âÄù the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act was reintroduced this week. It has made its way through committee, and, if adopted, the law would prohibit Minnesotans from suing for weight problems brought on by eating a companyâÄôs food.
No lawsuits of this nature have ever been filed in Minnesota, but they have been elsewhere. Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, authored the bill and cites a 2002 New York case in which teens sued McDonaldâÄôs when they became obese after eating its food for years. A judge ultimately dismissed the case, asserting itâÄôs not up to the law to protect people from their own excesses.
If someone craves an Egg McMuffin in the morning and a super-sized Big Mac meal for lunch, thatâÄôs oneâÄôs own choice.
Since the 2002 case, 23 states have adopted their own variation of the âÄúcheeseburger law,âÄù and Minnesota should be next. The legislation has been kicked around since 2001, passing the House twice and dying in the then-Democrat-controlled Senate.
No longer in the majority, Democrats are still dragging their feet, claiming this bill could let corporations shirk legitimate responsibility. To be sure, they should be held accountable for things like food contamination and poisoning, but lawsuits that point fingers for weight gain make a mockery of the judicial system.
The bill isnâÄôt perfect yet, but its intent is clear. Now that Republicans control the House and Senate, this bill has its best chance for passage. Lawmakers should pass it soon so they can return to more pressing issues.