Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant passed a law this week preventing counties, districts and towns from limiting portion sizes on food or beverages. The legislation was dubbed the Anti-Bloomberg bill, named after the NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg who attempted to ban the sale of sugary sodas of more than 16 ounces.
In a state where more than a third of the adult poplation is obese, the bill says only the state legislature can be responsible for the regulation of food on a statewide scale.
The bill was authored by restaurant owner Sen. Tony Smith. "We believe there's enough regulation," he said.
"If the market demands that I serve a more healthy food, I'll do that to meet to the market demand," he said. "But ... why should I risk my capital, my hard work, my efforts that I've put in to build a restaurant on the thinking of what a government official thinks?"
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Mississippi tops all other states in the country with the highest rate of obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports 34.9 percent of the state's adult population in 2011 was obese.
"It simply is not the role of the government to micro-regulate citizens' dietary decisions," said Gov. Bryant. "The responsibility for one's personal health depends on individual choices about a proper diet and appropriate exercise."
The Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association (MHRA) lobbied for the bill. "It doesn't prevent local government from promoting healthy foods,"said MHRA executive director Mike Cashion. "What it does do is prevent them from creating policy mandates for the sake of consistency and uniformity."