Foodservice Equipment Reports

Cheeseburger Law, Redux

Grills and heat lamps will still find work, even in the face of a Minnesota proposal dubbed the "Cheeseburger Bill," which would prohibit lawsuits against food makers and sellers by people who gain weight. The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act was approved late last month by a Minnesota House committee. The bill, which deals with food and nonalcoholic drinks, also is moving through the Senate process. Twenty-three states have similar laws.

The bill harkens back to failed 2004 federal legislation. Then, the American Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, also known as the Cheeseburger Bill, sought to protect producers and retailers of foods—such as restaurant chains—from a growing number of individual and class-action lawsuits filed by overweight consumers. That bill was based on a suit filed against major fast-food chains which the plaintiff blamed for making him fat; as with subsequent filings, the suit was turned down by the courts. It was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in March ’04, but did not receive a Senate vote.