Can a USDA blog post dictate what Americans should eat?

4th of July photo USDA

I had a surreal Twitter discussion about whether a USDA blog post of healthy eating tips for the 4th of July is the government dictating “what we shouldn’t eat.” Yes, you read that correctly!

The Fox News producer who posted the accusation on Twitter clearly believes that the government should not be passing policies or regulations that impact the American food system. That position I can understand, even if I don’t agree with it. The government has been shaping the diet of Americans for decades via the Farm Bill, trade agreements, food and drink taxation and other policies — and not always for the better.

But to lash out in anger at the government because the USDA posted healthy eating tips on its website, is not only illogical but seems to go against both industry and conservative arguments that education is how we should be solving the nation’s obesity and chronic disease epidemics. How can people become informed and exercise “personal responsibility” if even educational USDA blog posts are deemed dictatorial?

I created a Storify of the entire Twitter conversation. Take a look and see what you think:

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