Legislation Would Grant Restaurants, Food Producers Immunity Against Obesity Lawsuits
Assembly member John Dutra (D-Fremont) has introduced a bill (AB 1909) that would grant immunity to California restaurants and food producers in lawsuits alleging that the products they sell cause people to gain weight or develop weight-related health problems, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The bill, which comes in response to "growing fears ... that consumers will bring a flood of lawsuits that attempt to hold restaurants and food producers liable for health problems associated with weight gain," is similar to federal legislation and a Louisiana law, according to the Chronicle. The legislation would not grant immunity to entities serving alcoholic beverages or foods prepared in violation of existing law. Dutra said, "Obesity is a complex and serious issue that won't be solved through frivolous lawsuits and senseless litigation. No one is being forced to eat french fries, drink milk shakes or live a sedentary lifestyle." He added that education programs promoting healthy diet and lifestyle choices are better ways to combat obesity than lawsuits (Feist, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.