Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New York City Bans Homemade Goods at Bake Sales

From Gothamist (via Marginal Revolution):

Months after it barred schools from holding most food fundraisers, the city says bake sales can go on—as long as no homemade treats with undisclosed calorie counts grace the fold-out tables. The new regulation, designed to combat ever-increasing childhood obesity, limits bake sales to "fresh fruits and vegetables, or one of 27 specific packaged items" that include low-fat Doritos, Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars (blackberry only) and Linden’s Cookies (butter crunch, chocolate chip or fudge chip cookies in two cookie packs) among other things.
This is, of course, to comply with New York City's mandate that food servers post calorie counts on their menus. An unintended consequence of this policy has been to add transactions costs to the operating expenses of feed servers. Large firms like McDonald's can easily absorb the cost, as it is split over its hundreds of restaurants in the city, but even hot dog vendors on the street must comply with the rules. Even smaller players--like parents making snacks for a bake sale--are pushed out of the market because they can't comply with the logistics.

Of course, at many bake sales, the participants will have little incentive to report such an offender, so perhaps the law will be largely ignored.