The Israeli government (I live in Israel) recently passed a law (some form of regulation people call it a law and I’m not aware of how we label these things) requiring packaged food to be labeled if they contain too much sugar, salt, or trans fats. (the labels are shown below)
This on its face is a good thing and may have an overall positive effect regardless I am less inclined to trust in the efficacy of government regulation and control. Since I’ve decided I will share more of my personal political opinions in this blog. I decided to try to come up with potential unintended (or intended and lobbied for) consequences of this new regulation. I hope this serves as a good thought exercise even if my ideas, in this case, do not hold water.
- As this NLL (New Labeling Law) becomes better-known people will rely on it too see if a food is unhealthy, people rarely read labels anyways. The large problem with this is that it only classifies food that have excessive amounts of salt, sugars, or saturated fats (I’ll call this Slather because the acronym has too much history) and people will fail to notice the fact that most food contains Slather. and will contain slather with quantities slightly less than what they would need to label.
- Additionally, if there was any lobbying involved for the law the quantity defined as needing a label will begin at just under the default for some of the most popular companies. Really only foods already known to contain Slather (candy, pretzels, ketchup, etc) and foods from less mainstream companies shall be effected.
- But lobbying could also have come in other forms as the NLL also excludes dietary supplements from needing labels. Some companies making things classified as dietary supplements (5-hour energy and red bull for example) or companies who can redefine foods as supplements may be using it to gain a public image advantage over there competitors.
- Small packaging also does not need labels and food totaling under a certain number of calories per serving can be classified as sugar-free so they can also get around it.
- Unhealth sugar replacement and supplement come into use as the law defines sugars as most monosaccharides and disaccharides there may exist loopholes for food whose ingredients are processed into edible sugars during production ane the minority of people who actually check food labels can be deceived as the new workaround would affect that too.
- Companies who produce plastic wrapping and design companies will profit in the short term as some junk food makers will want to redesign their packaging in order to better mesh. (not necessarily negative but an unforeseen effect nonetheless)
- Any company or local food reseller can be fined heavily if they change their recipes or still sell the product in the old packaging. this will primarily have an effect on small local stores and shops in small, middle of nowhere, towns (for example where I live) who pretty much run the shops as a public service and don’t make many profits. (really if half of these actually come to pass it will help advance big business even further explains why the bill had bipartisan support)
- Baby formula is excluded from the NLL and this provides companies with free reign to fill baby formula with even more Slather as it strengthens the precedent of not having certain food regulations for baby formula. (I know it deserves different more specialized regulations but this is one of the products that labeling according to the NLL would be most necessary)
- Really the law seems so innocuous but entries 7 and 8 show the true potential of innocuous-seeming regulation even if it isn’t true in this case. I wanted to come up with 10 entries but I’ve spent too much time on this already.
Despite the excessive amount of time it took me to make this (a few hours really but I make daily posts and started around 7 pm), it was an interesting experiment. I would enjoy doing this again but so if you enjoyed it please suggest various bills from around the world. I did quite a bit of research for this and despite my limited of knowledge of General law, macroeconomic, biochemistry, social science (and more but I did a bit of research for this and have tough myself the basis of at least some of the fields) I still learned from and enjoyed making this.