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article imageMinnesota 'Cheeseburger bill' calls for personal responsibility Special

By Kim I. Hartman     Mar 11, 2011 in Politics
Saint Paul - A unique legislative bill in the Minnesota House, nicknamed the 'Cheeseburger Bill', would provide for civil immunity against claims based on weight gain, obesity and health related issued caused by the long-term consumption of foods.
State Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) has authored the 'Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act' and proposed it in the House of Representatives for seven years and told this reporter that, "this may be the year it makes it through both the House and Senate."
"The bill says consumers can’t file lawsuits against the food industry for weight gain, obesity and health problems caused by years of consuming fattening foods and non-alcoholic drinks such as soda," according to Fox News.
Urdahl said in an interview, "The bill has received enough votes on three occasions to make it out of the House but it was dead in the Senate each time. This year the bill has its best chance of receiving the necessary votes in the Republican controlled House and Senate, although nothing is certain." Urdahl blames the Democratic Farmer Labor Party for the bill failing in the past, but he is optimistic in this year's House session.
The next hearing for the bill will be Tuesday, March 15, with the state Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and Finance Committee where it's "expected to be approved and sent to the House for a vote," said Urdahl.
HF0265 states:
A producer, grower, manufacturer, packer, distributor, carrier, holder, marketer, or seller of a food or nonalcoholic beverage intended for human consumption, or an association of one or more of such entities, must not be subject to civil liability based on any individual's or group of individuals' purchase or consumption of food or nonalcoholic beverages in cases where liability arises from weight gain, obesity, or a health condition associated with weight gain or obesity and resulting from the individual's or group of individuals' long-term purchase or consumption of a food or nonalcoholic beverage.
Urdahl said he isn't aware of any current litigation in the state of Minnesota that will be prohibited in the future by the passing of this legislation into law. He stressed the importance of the bill and said "The bill affects all of us, lawsuits filed in the United States cost everyone money. Whether negligence is admitted or not, settlements are made and these are passed down to the consumer, who pays a higher price."
Urdahl said, "This bill will prevent lawsuits like one filed in Brazil in which the manager sued the McDonald's he worked at, after gaining 65lbs, while working as a manager for the fast food restaurant." In that case McDonald's was ordered to pay the man $17,500 as compensation for his extreme weight-gain.
Rep. Urdahl said "The House bill was about personal responsibility in the consumption of food and it will protect the food processor's and manufacturers, the food industry, the farmers and the consumers."
More about cheeseburger bill, personal responsibility in food consumption, Obesity, Minnesota, dean urdahl
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