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Freedom Fridays

Shedding Light on Unconstitutional Federal Regulations

The Four Regulations of Christmas


Freedom Fridays


December 22, 2017 - "Drink the Hot Cocoa, Pour Out the Regs"


During Thanksgiving, I highlighted some of the thousands of government regulations related to a few of the holiday foods we all enjoy. For this week’s Freedom Friday, the final of our Christmas series, I wanted to take a closer look at two festive drinks: eggnog and hot cocoa.

Think that any reasonably tasty concoction of cream, sugar, and eggs could be considered eggnog? Well, the government would disagree. Here are just the introductory sentences from the Code of Federal Regulations’ definition of the product:

Eggnog contains not less than 6 percent milkfat and not less than 8.25 percent milk solids not fat. The egg yolk solids content is not less than 1 percent by weight of the finished food. The egg yolk solids content is not less than 1 percent by weight of the finished food.

Or maybe you prefer hot cocoa to eggnog. The government defines cocoa as:

Food prepared by pulverizing the material remaining after part of the cacao fat has been removed from ground cacao nibs…containing not less than 22 percent by weight of cacao fat as determined by the method prescribed in 163.5(b)….

Etc., etc., etc….

I would still love to know how many bureaucrats are paid to write these food and beverage regulations, but I’ll let that issue go for the moment and focus here on another problem: these overly precise standards hinder competition. Reasonable definitions would be one thing, but what if a mom-and-pop startup comes up with a clever, tasty new recipe for eggnog that contains 5.9 percent milkfat rather than 6 percent milkfat? Would such a small business be prohibited from labelling its product “eggnog” even if that’s what any reasonable consumer would call it?

Some more festive food for thought, but don’t let it put a damper on your holiday cheer.