To what extent do you think manufacturers of unhealthy foods be held responsible for the health consequesces of their products?
I don't think they should be held responsible unless they knowingly hide dangerous or unhealthy chemicals. However, many companies try to trick you into thinking their food is healthy. My pet peeve is high calorie, sugar-loaded foods that are labeled fat-free. They are often more unhealthy and more fattening than foods with fat!
I would rather be proactive about such an issue. There should be sensible regulation about mass produced and processed food before it is ever served since the health costs associated with obesity are going to passed on to the public in many ways. So I don't think they should be able to mislead, or to produce foods which are dangerous for consumption. That being said, Americans have to learn some self control in terms of portion size and overeating fatty unhealthy foods. Government can incentivize this as well as encourage energy savings by offering tax breaks to local food producers and consumers.
While I agree with the previous post, I think many food manufactures will go to great lengths to hide their food's unhealthy side. Many ingredients aren't listed separately; they are lumped together and listed as something that sounds benign. For example, msg and several other chemical adatives can be listed as "natural flavorings" in the ingredients list. The average consumers do not realize that these natural flavors are anything but natural.
Product manufactures have a goal to sell products and make money. Most manufactures don't care about the consumer as much as they care about their bottom line. They will put things like whole grain in the title to try to make consumers believe these things are healthier than they are. Many so called whole grain products are actually higher in fat and calories while they do not contain any more fiber or health benefits than the non-whole grain version of the same product.
While it is the consumers responsibility to be a smart shopper and read the labels, I think the manufactures must take some of the blame when they attempt to deceive the consumer.