New Food Policy Report Calls for a Global War on Meat and Sugar
Basically it seems to be a call for big government to step in and force us all to eat what they think we should eat. Citing climate change as one of the justifications is the new piece.A Lancet Commission Report released this week calls for a global campaign to combat obesity, malnutrition, and climate change. The report, The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change, claims these problems share a common cause and, hence, may be fixed with a common solution.
The concept of a "syndemic"—basically, two or more related pandemics—is pretty novel. So is tying climate change to both the overconsumption and underconsumption of calories. But the solution the authors propose will sound frustratingly familiar. In short, their big fix is to treat food companies like tobacco companies and tax meats and sugary food and drink.
Some members of the media love the report. A Vox piece, which reads like a combination press release/op-ed, eats up the report, quotes several supporters, including Marion Nestle, and ignores any and all critics. It even closes with a call to embrace the report's assault on large food producers: "It's about time that changed."
Some things in the report jump right out. For example, the article doesn't waste any time making some rather astonishing claims. For example, the third sentence argues that climate change is a pandemic. (The World Health Organization defines a pandemic as "the worldwide spread of a new disease.") A previous Lancet publication argued that physical inactivity—e.g., sitting on your couch habitually—is also a pandemic.
Also noteworthy is the fact there are nearly as many glowing references to food taxes in the report (42) as there are authors of the report (43).
The report authors pin many of the causes of their so-called syndemic on two things: the production and consumption of meat and consumption of "ultra-processed foods and sugary drinks."
The report authors, for example, hail Mexico's national soda tax, Chile's backwards food policies, and "the progress seen in New York City during Michael Bloomberg's years as mayor," which, recall, were notable chiefly for the mayor's systemic attack on food freedom.
The report warns about "the urgent need for a fundamental change in today's governance systems." In other words, capitalism is bad. "Arguably, the most important challenge is considering and redefining the fundamental goals of these systems." That means targeting "the structures, practices, and beliefs that underpin capitalism in its present form[.]"