Whole Foods’ Cherry Walnut bread and government over-regulation

Many of the non social issues, or perceived issues, facing the country are so large and mentioned so often that their impact on individual citizens is lost.  Examples of such issues:

  • government over-regulation.
  • a $19 trillion dollar budget deficit.
  • the appointment of Supreme Court Justices.
  • illegal immigration.
  • a weakened military.
  • climate change.
  • school choice.

Last week, I found an example of how government over-regulation has negatively impacted Whole Foods and its customers.

Whole Foods in Newport Beach, California carried a Cherry Walnut bread. It was baked daily by Whole Foods’ on-site baker and was one of their best selling breads. Last week, my wife and I couldn’t find the Cherry Walnut bread. We were told it had been discontinued!

The reason? The Food and Drug Administration passed regulations that require breads, and most other foods, to label their nutritional content in addition to their ingredient content. The FDA mandated that the nutritional ingredients be verified and registered by an independent lab by January 2017. Because of the cost and time required to get each unique bread ‘nutritionally’ registered, Whole Foods has had to ‘standardize’ the breads it sells at its stores. It has had to discontinue the unique breads baked at individual Whole Food stores.

The impact?

  • Consumers lose choice.
  • Whole Foods loses revenue and its competitive edge – its identify as an organization known for its local, fresh, and unique products is diminished.
  • Their in-house bakers lose the satisfaction of being able to hone his or her craft and perhaps even their jobs.

This is one of tens of thousands of unnecessary and burdensome regulations that stifle competition, that burden the creation of new businesses, and ultimately that affect job growth.

One of the unfortunate, but predictable, dangers of creating government regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Education, is that they don’t know when to stop regulating.

When one buys Cherry-Walnut bread with a list of ingredients, one doesn’t need to know how much magnesium or vitamin E it contains. If and when consumers want or need to know the nutrients in breads, then consumers can buy products from bakeries that list them and those bakeries will have a competitive edge.