The bizarrely misplaced food freak-out continues, as we have people overlooking the environmental, energy consumption, and dietary/health horrors of the processed foods that make up 80% of today’s American diet — focusing instead on caffeine as the root of all evil. Today, TV station KERO in Bakersfield, CA reported that a coffee-drinking New York city councilman, Simcha Felder, “plans to introduce a resolution calling on the federal government to require that food and beverages contain labels revealing caffeine content”: Food Labels Need Caffeine Count, Some Say – Health.

Isn’t that a bit like labelling how much alcohol is in your beer? I thought the main point of food labelling — generally a good thing, mind you — was to make you aware of invisible or insidious things that weren’t necessarily obvious on the surface. What is the value of such a proposal, and the value of our federal government’s time and attention, when whether someone is either over-caffeinated or under-caffeinated isn’t exactly a mystery or black art?

As long as nutritionism remains the rule for America’s eating habits, people will continue to equate their health to the presence or absence of single molecules. A healthy diet or lifestyle isn’t built upon the line-item veto, nor can its foundation be found in binge eating omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and/or phytochemicals.

UPDATE: February 21, 2007
The New York Press also published an article on this topic: Caffeine vs. Trans Fat: The Smackdown, as did “Good Morning America”: ABC News: Feel a Buzz? There Might Be Caffeine in That. Coca-Cola plans to start labelling in May, according to the AP: Coke To Show Caffeine Content On Labels – Health.