A panel of experts convened Monday at the conservative Heritage Foundation cast a slate of federal regulations meant to improve food safety and curb obesity as misguided government overreach.

The Obama administration and congressional Democrats are pressing forward on numerous fronts to protect public health. Current and pending regulations requiring calorie counts on restaurant menus, labels on genetically modified foods and stringent school lunch requirements are the work of the federal “food police,” the experts argued.

“They are trying to actually influence what you eat,” said Daren Bakst, a Heritage research fellow with expertise in agricultural and regulatory policy.

Bakst and the other experts called the regulations ineffective and unnecessary, saying the private sector is already responding to the public’s demands for more information about the nutritional value of the food they buy.

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