The debate over the fast food ban in South Los Angeles rages on. And there are good points on both sides.
As is often the case with well-intentioned do-good legislation, there are negative side effects. If fast food is simply defined as establishments that have “a limited menu, items prepared in advance, or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders, and food served in disposable wrapping or containers,” there could be unintended casualties.
“Our policy makers abhor nuance and the subtle but distinct qualities that differentiate fast food from food that can be served fast,” says Larry Bain, a businessman who could be adversely effected by the anti-fast food measures in South Los Angeles. He runs two hot dog carts that include high-quality dogs from cattle raised on pastures, served with fresh grilled onions. Not a grilled chicken salad, to be sure. But does it deserve to be banned, especially when you consider it’s a small two-person operation trying to make ends meet?
On the other side of the argument, you have to face the simple economic facts of the matter: personal freedom of choice is all well and good, but when cash-strapped lower income people have the choice between the quick drive-thru fast food “value meal” that costs $5 and the healthier sit-down meal that goes for $10+, which do you think will win?
More news on the effort to put a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in a section of Los Angeles that already has 400 in a 32-square-mile radius. (See my original post explaining this story.)
A Los Angeles city council planning committee unanimously approved a one-year ban, which could be extended for a another year, on new fast food outlets. The measure will go to the full council for a vote next month. It will be interesting to see if there is any long-term good that will come of this. One key is to replace prospective fast food establishments with healthier options. The plan is to encourage that. How, I’m not sure.
I’ve always been amazed that healthy fast food businesses haven’t spread like wildfire in recent years. It seems that given a fast healthy option, people would go for it. Here in Roseville, California there’s a UFood Grill, which has locations in several states across the country.
If you have healthy fast food businesses in your hometown, share them with us- because it just seems like a huge niche waiting to be filled. I don’t know if it just hasn’t been handled by the right business minds, or if the costs of fresh and healthy foods don’t match the dynamics of fast drive-thru service. It seems there has to be a good reason why they haven’t started to flourish.
Last spring I did a piece on the efforts by New York City officials to make restaurant nutrition information more transparent. More specifically, they wanted all nutritional information printed for consumers to see and evaluate their choices.
There are many levels to the battle between government and private enterprise on the subject of public health, with most of the headlines coming from the Big Apple. But it’s now spread to the West Coast.
Los Angeles city-council member Jan Perry is spearheading legislation that would ban new fast food restaurants from opening in a 32-square-mile area of the city. According to Perry, the area already has 400 fast food establishments.
Here’s a quick video that explains more on the fight:
Maybe you aren’t at fault for being overweight. There’s an interesting article on the Los Angeles Times website that addresses the facts surrounding you environmental exposure to foods and how your body has a genetic predisposition to eat when exposed to food.