It has been reported in the “The Times”, (Johannesburg,June 18, page 6 “Food labelling on the boil”) , that under proposed new “consumer” legislation, “if a shop stocks foods with religious endorsements, such as “kosher” or “halal”, identical food without religious claims on the labelling must also be available.
This would ‘give consumers their constitutional right of freedom of choice’, the draft says.”
In a free market economy, people have the right to buy and sell whatever they want, and not be forced to buy and sell anything, so the entire spirit of this law is anti-progressive and smells of interventionism and communism.
However, even if there was merit in the absurd argument that stores had a “constitutional” obligation to stock products that their patrons were happy with, the idea that the presence of a label on a product which does nothing more than confirm the absence of any products forbidden to a particular religious group, is an infringement on anyone’s “constitutional right of freedom of choice” is absolutely preposterous.
On the contrary, any requirement to produce separate product lines, will inevitably achieve one of two things:
- Either the price of the product will be driven up, which would have a REAL negative effect on consumers, and also provoke religious hatred and resentment as a result
- Producers and retailers would be unable to stock products suitable for religious groups, which would certainly be a very REAL infringement of these groups “constitutional freedom of religion”, leaving them with nothing to eat.
Now, I ask you, what is more of a constitutional infringement? A small harmless label, or interfering with free-trade PLUS a choice between forced price-increases and religious incitement or religious persecution and forced starvation?
As is common these days, some people in high places