I don't get the fascination federal food police have with calories.
The idea that the places like Pizza Guys, Round Table or Domino's Pizza may have to post "reasonably accurate" calorie counts for what the Food and Drug Administration concedes is over 30 million possible combinations when all potential ingredient combinations are taken into account is nuts. The fact the the owner of a pizza place could face a stiff fine and up to a year in jail if their posted calorie counts aren't "reasonably accurate" is insanity to the nth degree.
The alligators in the swamp aren't what you should fear - it's the millions of creepy crawly regulations that percolate in their domain.
The requirement for the FDA to become pizza calorie counting cops was buried in the 2010 legislation that is so near and dear to the hearts of many - the Affordable Care Act. Don't bother to ask what that has to do with affordable healthcare insurance. Let's just say it's typical of how Congress operates. Slam together 300 or so pages of a proposed new law 48 hours before a vote crammed with side show issues in the fine print and assure your colleagues that the details can be sorted out after it is passed.
Seven years later the FDA hasn't completed the task of devising a new bookshelf full of rules needed to regulate pizza calories. Friday was the deadline for enforcement to start but the FDA bureaucrats had to beg off saying they need more time.
Rest assured that any regulation that takes the federal government seven years plus to craft is not something that is going to be simple, clear, and straightforward.
Legislation is being proposed in the House of Representatives that scraps jail time and fines and allows pizza places instead to display calorie information via their Internet presence.
I honestly cannot recall the last time I had a slice of pizza. But go back more than a few years and I was able to polish off a large pizza by myself to make some think I was gearing up to go toe-to-toe with Joey Chestnut at a competitive eating contest. But I do know this: The calorie posting wouldn't faze me. I honestly don't think anyone who is opting to dine at a place that sells products drenched in melted cheese, ample flour, and just about anything you can think of thrown on top is going to be influenced by calorie counts to take a "healthier" option.
I can give you a calorie count of what I eat almost every day that is fairly accurate because I don't deviate much from my diet. My diet, by the way, comes out to between 3,600 and 4,000 calories a day. That said, more than a few people look at what I eat and declare that I eat healthy.
What they don't know about is my Saturday night splurge. It is typically after returning from a long hike or doing something else that goes beyond my normal daily exercise routine.
The splurge is Dryer's Nestle Drumstick Sundae Cone ice cream. I'm not talking about a dish of Drumstick ice cream. I'm talking about polishing off the entire 1.5 quart container of Drumstick ice cream in one setting. Every last bit of ice cream to the tune of nearly 2,000 calories.
Believe me, I look at the calories every time I pick a container up at Food 4 Less or when Target has it. I know how many calories are from fat. I know it's a bit excessive. But there I am virtually every week, a guy who religiously keeps tabs mentally of everything I eat contemplating the insanity of what I'm about to do and I go ahead and do it every time. You could print that Dreyer's crammed 4,000 calories into 1.5 quarts of Drumstick ice cream and I'd still buy it and it would still be gone in 20 minutes.
No one gets between me and my Dryer's Drumstick ice cream, not even the federal food police.
I don't even try to rationalize it by saying to myself I don't drink or smoke. I am going to buy Dryer's Drumstick ice cream and I'm going to enjoy eating it for 20 minutes preferably while watching a new episode of "Major Crimes" or Madam Secretary" via Comcast on Demand.
That said, that is the extent of my splurge during a week as well as TV time.
You could print all of the federally mandated caloric information on it, tax it as if it were cigarettes, and I'd still eat it and enjoy every sinful second of it.
It is why spending untold hundreds of thousands a year if not millions to implement and enforce calorie posting rules on pizza places is a colossal waste of money. It's not going to deter anyone from going for it. If you want a certain pizza and it comes to 300 calories a slice you are going to eat it come hell or high water.
Besides if you want people to be healthier it takes a lot more than obsessing over calories.
Federal edicts such as the pizza calorie posting mandate are what balloons the cost of government and is driving people to rebel against government overreach.
If Congress kills off the ACA mandate for posting pizza calories I might celebrate the Saturday after they do it by grabbing a slice of vegetarian pizza as the appetizer before polishing off 1.5 quarts of Dryer's Drumstick ice cream.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.