Politics & Policy

Feds Have Spent 17 Years on Regulations to Protect You from Killer Breath Mints

“Breath mint users,” beware!
The FDA aims to ensure that "breath mint users" don't eat too many.

After 17 years of work, the Food and Drug Administration is finally almost ready to release its regulations on labeling of breath mints in a way that will keep people from eating too many.

On August 1, the FDA closed the comment period on a proposal that would mandate that companies list the nutrition information for breath mints per mint, not per gram.

The reasoning? An FDA study found that one mint was the amount most “breath mint users” (their phrase) consumed. Few people, it turns out, weigh their breath mints before deciding how many to eat.

Therefore, listing calories per mint would help consumers realize that more calories are in bigger mints than in smaller mints. This would in turn encourage people to choose smaller mints, making it less likely they would eat so many large mints that they become obese.

Perhaps in an attempt to explain why breath-mint consumption required 17 years of taxpayer-funded study, the FDA shared CDC statistics claiming that 68 percent of American adults are overweight and 34 percent are obese.

The statistics, however, did not address breath mints specifically. It is unclear whether anyone has ever become obese from eating breath mints.

– Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.