“Warning: This sandwich contains a large amount of fat.”

“Warning: This sandwich contains a large amount of fat.”

So read the voluntary declaration beneath my chosen menu item – a glorious, smoky burnt ends sandwich – at a recent lunch with your publisher.

And that’s fine, because you want some fat with your barbecue – same goes for the pork belly that Tom and I also shared as we discussed the direction of your magazine and various other industry issues.

See, I don’t eat this stuff every day (though my physique would suggest otherwise), but the occasional treat does wonders for the palate and the psyche.

Of course, the food police couldn’t care less about that. “Everything in moderation” leaves no room for demons and undermines the society of victims that gives them their power. If they had their way, bits of heaven like I describe above would be against the law. Some are so militant, their behavior begs the question: Will these self-appointed do-gooders ever be convinced the food industry is not out to kill people?

Probably not.

It doesn’t seem to matter that the food industry has bent over backwards to offer choices for every nutritional profile. And it’s bad enough when the eggheads in the food police horn in, then people who haven’t got a clue deputize themselves, like the New York City Council trying to ban the use of salt in food preparation. Or they fixate on one issue, like fat or sugar, while ignoring the complete nutritional package.

Personal responsibility is a foreign concept to these folks – no, YOU’RE not to blame, it’s the evil food corporations who are making you fat. I mean, obviously these companies have to make money, so their greed requires people to keep eating until they die from obesity. So we either have to shut the companies down, revoke their right to promote their legal products or force them to make things people don’t really want, for their own good.

Sure, some companies go overboard with their advertising. And sure, some of the food they sell isn’t good for you if you eat too much of it (is anything?). But that doesn’t mean consumers are blameless.

Or, using our mothers’ logic: If the food industry told you to go jump off a cliff, would you do it?

The solution to obesity is education and will power, not the abandonment of capitalism or free speech. If Big G hawks sugar bombs to tykes during cartoons, so what? Who’s in charge, anyway? Parents are the gatekeepers of the family pantry, and if they don’t keep caving to their kids’ whining, the market will respond. The kids shouldn’t be watching so much TV anyway.

Speaking of which: Others have argued that one of the causes of childhood obesity is a lack of physical activity due to too much time spent with television and video games. But I can’t recall anyone shrieking at Sony to sell fewer TVs or Nintendo to stop marketing Wii to kids.

Like it did with big tobacco, the do-gooders, as their idea of solving the obesity problem, are browbeating the food industry into selling less of its legal products, marketing them to fewer people and changing their products without regard to demand. Don’t sell people what they want – sell them what someone else thinks they need because they don’t know any better.

I think the food industry needs to stop playing to the do-gooders, the whiners and complainers, for many of whom nothing would be acceptable outside of a government-run Department of Eating. And look out, because a government that can force you to buy health insurance probably thinks it can force you to eat what it tells you to eat.

Instead, the industry needs to enhance its focus on its consumers and provoke a grassroots effort among the American people to stand up and tell CSPI, PETA, the government, whoever, that they’re sick and tired of being treated like babies. America is still, mostly, the land of the free.

Rant over. Please enjoy this month’s issue.