ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota House panel has approved legislation that would block consumers from suing fast-food chains and other food companies for weight problems.

The Civil Law Committee approved the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act on a voice vote. The proposal is also known as the “cheeseburger bill.”

The bill would prevent consumers from suing the food industry for weight gain, obesity and health problems caused by long-term consumption of fattening foods and non-alcoholic drinks such as soda.

The sponsor, Republican Rep. Dean Urdahl of Grove City, says the bill would prevent frivolous lawsuits. Urdahl has been pushing the legislation since 2004.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (42)
  1. Louis Alemayehu says:

    Who is proposing this bill and what is their connection to the fast food industry? I could be wrong, but follow the money!

    1. bob says:

      I bet it is a Republician! They received big donations from the food industry and now they want to get what they paid for.

      1. T says:

        It’s obviously a Republican because it’s someone who thinks Americans should have some personal responsibility.

      2. Chris says:

        You’re an IDIOT!!! yeah fat people should be able to sue fast food joints because the are F-ing slobs like you. PIG,,, go get a rope!!

    2. CS says:

      His or her name is Common Sense.

    3. Little Tin God says:

      I’m not a repukelican, but I think it’s about time for a bill like this. Suing McDonald’s or Burger King because you made a diet of their huge calorie and fattening foods is probably the most ridiculous thing ever.

    4. ToMpls says:

      Another bill to let corporations avoid product liability.

      I guess the budget is no longer a major issue.

      Rep’s: Vote us in and we’ll give you the “Cheeseburger Bill” !

  2. David says:

    It’s about time. People need to take responsibility for their actions. And no, I do not work for nor am I connected to the food industry.

  3. Kristi Bruno says:

    As long as the food companies are required to prominently display full nutritional information on everything they sell, allowing buyers to make fully-informed decisions, I could agree with this. People should be responsible for what they choose to consume. However, if a restaurant sells a “healthy” salad without disclosing that it actually has 800 calories and 42g of fat, they should remain culpable.

    1. mark from says:

      @Kristi Bruno However a person can get off the couch and exercise

  4. Melonie says:

    I agree that there is a personal responsibility, but then there is also a personal responsibility for people who choose to smoke and develop cancer, or people who own cars who are injured in accidents that they cause, or a myriad of other issues. If people can sue tobacco companies and insurance companies, they should have the same option to sue the fast food vendor.

    I also agree with Louis- follow the money.

  5. JKB says:

    Kristi you are so right. When you have the information, the choice is yours. No one is forcing a person to eat cheeseburgers, fries, supersized anything, etc. If you choose to eat it, it is only your problem. And this does not just mean fast food places. Any restaurant you go to, what you order is your choice and no one is forcing you to eat it.

  6. JB says:

    I can see it now, if you want to supersize it, you or a legal guardian will have to sign a release. Yeah, more lawyers and government in our lives.

  7. NoBigMac says:

    I have no connection to the fast food industry because I take personal responsibility for my weight and health and I don’t go to those establishments. Sounds like I must be a Republican – who knew?

  8. Bob says:

    Why should people be responsible for what they eat, it should be someone elses responsibility shouldn’t it? Lets raise taxes and form a commission to help people…..

  9. NoBigMac says:

    JB – you have it all wrong. Less lawyers is what the bill proposes. You eat it, you live with it. Don’t call your lawyer to blame someone else when you get fat!

  10. JR says:

    Where are all the lawsuits in MN seeking to recover money for having gotten fat? This sounds to me like a solution in search of a problem.

    1. CB says:

      I was wondering the same thing. And since there is likely no mass quantity of lawsuits between fat people and fast food chains, I’m guessing there’s some fine print in this bill that would free fast food companies of legal obligation should some more serious health risk come to light. Like say, if some “special sauce” was discovered to cause cancer. Or if their hormone-laced meat were to be linked to Autism.

      Republican Dean Urdahl, looking out for the little guy.

  11. helper says:

    Yeah, typical republican bill.

    They pander to big businesses and all the dumb ‘blue collar’ republicans just go along with it…

    1. mark from says:

      and your the typical Liberal Victim

      1. jane says:

        and your a typical teabrain teabagger – what’s your point?

  12. Lynn says:

    All you commenters have it all wrong. What you have here is way to many legislators meeting way to often and being paid way to much. What really needs to be done here is reduce the size of the legislature to 87. Allow them to meet once every 2 years for 87 days and then shuck them off home to listen to their constituents. Allow them enough per diem to get a couple cheeseburgers every day. What ever it comes down to you just have to keep these people from meeting. They’re dangerous

  13. Deb says:

    Just one more thing to waste time and money over . And what earmarks are going to be attached to this one.

  14. commonsense says:

    Typical republican attitude. They are for big business. I say sue the hell out of the companies that sell these poisons. Also people who eats these foods should be slapped silly.

  15. Wow says:

    You mean people can win a lawsuit for being pigs and getting fat and unhealthy? This should have been a law years ago. I don’t agree with a lot of what republican lawmakers think but this seems like a no-brainer. I can’t believe some of you bums think getting fat is anyone’s fault but your own.

  16. Nathans says:

    Listen, it’s not about taking away the right to sue for being fat for feeding your pie house at the waffle house. The lawmaker’s intention is to protect the rights of restaurant chains from doing what is right. Like providing healthy food choices, eliminating the 1800 Kcal cheeseburger, providing nutritional data, and buying wholesome foods. Representative Urdahl states he’s protecting the farmer, the food manufacturer and restaurant owners. The fact is many of the foods being sold today are not even American. Ask your local restaurant where their shrimp is from, their juice, fruit, and vegetables. And for beef, shame on Rep. Urdahl; we have large multinational companies creating a toxic mix of frozen hamburger products that contain meat parts from all over the world. How do you think we have $0.99 burgers? Yes, we should have protection. More importantly, American’s need to get back to the basics learning how to buy healthy foods and prepare them at home.

  17. Sally says:

    You buy it, you put it in your mouth, it’s YOUR OWN DOING !!!! I so agree with this !!!!

  18. mark from says:

    I love this, people who can’t take care of themselves need to blame someone because they can’t get off the couch and go for a walk. The ultimate victim, this is just to funny, where is the ACLU on this for the children, for the fat slobs who stuff themselves. I used to be 347lbs, I looked into the mirror and said this must end, now 235lbs. Was I big boned? NO! just fat. A little common sense works

  19. Susan says:

    Ok. I want a bill that prevents frivolous legislation. Let’s see now…permanent freeze on state employees wages, thereby, union-busting, repeal equal pay for equal work, repeal the smoking ban. I could go on. I really want our state lawmakers to get to WORK! I don’t want us to relive the same old fights. If we have been though it once we don’t have to revisit it. I do not want to live in the 50s, 60s or 70s. I want to live in the progressive, action-minded state. Now throw out all the old agendas and get to work on progress!

  20. G says:

    All this talk about food make’s me hungry. I think I’ll go out and grab a couple Bid Slack’s.

    1. JamieinMN says:

      What’s a Big Slack?????

  21. JamieinMN says:

    About time! Whatever judges allowed cases like these in their courtroom are complete jokes! People need to take self-responsibility. Nobody is holding a gun to your head, telling you to eat that Big Mac and large fried with a Diet Coke.

    1. JR says:

      Are you aware of even a single case of this sort filed in any court in MN? Again, this is a solution in search of a problem.

      1. JamieinMN says:

        Hmmm I am not. But this will prevent anything further. Nationwide please!

  22. ro says:

    Finally! When people become responsible for their actions then they will be in the game once again!

  23. ST says:

    Where was this bill when everybody was suing the tobacco companies? If a bill must be passed to protect the “evil” cheeseburger industry, shouldn’t all “evil” industries be equally protected?

  24. Victim Du Jour says:

    Democrats chase jobs to China with lawsuit abuse. A reward System for playing dumb.

    If you want to follow the Money – look at the 39 Million Dollars lawers contributed in 2008 (81% to Democrats)

    Junk Lawsuits hurt everyone.

  25. Ellen says:

    I agree that people need to take responsibiity for what they eat. No one is twisting their arm to buy big macs, fries and giant shakes. And if anyone is concerned about “poisons” in the food, buy organic and eat at home. But I’ve also thought for years that the legislature should be cut in half, and NEEDED legislation would be passed much quicker and we wouldn’t have the massive deficit we have now. There are needy persons out there that need help, but there are also way too many freebies/handouts that aren’t really necessary. I voted against the clean air and water amendment, but unfortunately it passed. What most folks didn’t know was that a good portion of it goes for arts, museums, etc. etc. The LIBERAL media expounded upon the air and water portion, but nary a word was said about the wasteful programs that it would also support. That’s why there are so many plays/performances, and programs coming to area schools…they are funded by that amendment!

  26. markH says:

    For my part, I’m putting the blame squarely where it belongs-on Jesus! The guy died for me (supposedly, though I didn’t ask him to) and expiated my sins and responsibilities. So, I can eat what I want, get fat, suffer a heart attack, and it’s all his fault. Gee, thanks lord.

  27. Fat Liberal says:

    I am sueing Jamison Whiskey for killing my liver….Marlboro for killing my lungs….Twinkies for making my stomach look like a Liberal Diversity convention….Ford for putting carbon dioxide into the air…..and of course my mother who farted way too much also putting carbon dioxide into the air……now I am going back to the couch……I grow weak…..

  28. Louis Alemayehu says:

    I really believe people ought to exercise personal responsibility for what they eat. I just don’t understand HOW with all the things that need attention THIS particular bill moved to the head of the line and WHY. Why can’t we just let somebody file a suit and if it has no merit the court just shoots it down. That’s the job of the courts isn’t it. Or are we saying that we don’t even what a process in place to hold business responsible for the content of what they sell?

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