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COURIER L 16 IFE, NOVEMBER 5-11, 2021
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (left, carrot) wants to regulate how junk food is marketed to kids.
Photo by Ben Verde
State Sen. Zellnor
Myrie, a carrot,
targets junk food
BY BEN VERDE
It’s a game of carrots and schticks!
Dressed up as a carrot, State Sen.
Zellnor Myrie attempted to take a
chomp out of junk food marketing on
Thursday with his new bill that would
food regulators to target corporations
that advertise unhealthy foods.
Myrie — who represents parts of
Crown Heights, Brownsville, Park
Slope, and Sunset Park — discussed
the bill on Oct. 28 while donning the
big orange carrot costume on Empire
Boulevard near Washington Avenue in
Crown Heights, a strip dominated by
“We have four fast-food chains
within a stones throw of each other,
and what you can’t see is that there are
two schools right behind both of these
fast food chains,” he said.
A Popeyes sits on the corner of Empire
Boulevard and Washington Avenue,
directly behind a Wendy’s on the
opposite corner. Across the street, consumers
can fi nd a Checkers, next door
to a McDonalds.
The strip is traversed by hundreds
of schoolchildren a day, Myrie noted,
while reminiscing about his own history
as a baby carrot in the area.
“I used to get the bus to go to school
right on this corner, and I would walk
back from school right on Empire Boulevard,”
The bill, offi cially titled the Predatory
Marketing Prevention Act, works
by clarifying that children are particularly
vulnerable to predatory or false
advertising of junk foods — a provision
to laws that already prevent blatantly
The carrot’s bill also allows the Department
of Health to work alongside local
school districts to promote healthy
eating, and doesn’t prohibit them from
labelling unhealthy foods as what they
are — junk.
“At bottom, this stands for one basic
principle,” Myrie said. “There is nothing
more valuable than the health of
our children, and our children should
not be sacrifi ced at the altar of profi ts.”
The effects of the prevalence of unhealthy
foods in communities of color
has been laid bare by the pandemic,
“Obesity and the comorbidities associated
with obesity are the second leading
cause of death in the United States,”
he said. “We saw during Covid-19, our
communities died at a disproportionate
rate, not because there was something
uniquely defi cient with us, but because
we suffer from those very comorbidities.”
SIMPLE AND INSTANT