On July 4, 1776, America’s founding fathers signed their names to the Declaration of Independence in an effort to affirm basic liberties. But they never dreamed that anyone would someday attempt to strip the American people of the fundamental freedom to control what we eat and drink. In the spirit of throwing off the shackles of harassing powers, we offer our Declaration of Food Independence.

Click here to add your John Hancock to this Declaration and tell the food cops that they can’t control you — or your diet.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for freedom-loving people to dissolve the bands which bind them to the will of Food Cops, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Consumers are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that whenever any aspiring Big Brothers become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the Consumers to alter or abolish that relationship.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, including taxes, finger-waving, and food demonization, evinces a design to reduce the freedoms of responsible adults under dietary despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such tyrants. Such has been the patient suffering of we freedom-loving Consumers, and such is now the necessity which impels us to alter our former tolerance of Food Cop abuses. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid public:

Instead of trusting adults to make their own decisions, Kelly “Big Brother” Brownell seeks to tax away foods he doesn’t like. So desirous is he of changing others’ waistlines (his own is apparently another matter) that he has advocated crushing our liberties, saying: “I recommend we develop a militant attitude about the toxic food environment, like we have about tobacco … [smoking] became so serious that society overlooked the intrusion on individual rights for the greater social good.”

A growing cabal of menu-meddlers is fighting to subvert traditional American beliefs about personal responsibility. For one, the intolerable, Center forScience in the Public Interest scold Margo Wootan declares: “We have got to move beyond personal responsibility.”

The World Health Organization has endorsed fat taxes and food marketing restrictions.

Top Food Cop Michael Jacobson dreams of more taxation without representation: “We could envision taxes on butter, potato chips, whole milk, cheeses, [and] meat.”

Brown University professor and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantee James Morone trumpeted Food Cop hopes that “When an industry becomes demonized, plausible counterarguments (privacy, civil liberties, property rights, and the observation that “everyone does it”) begin to totter.”

The Animal Liberation Front has firebombed restaurants where citizens dine.

Consumers can’t eat at a chicken restaurant without risking a visit from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and their disgusting “Buckets of Blood.”

“Captain” Paul Watson’s militant Sea Shepherd Conservation Society scuttles fishing boats trying to bring seafood to stores and restaurants.

One major funder of the public-health busybodies uses war-like language to denounce foods which he deems unacceptable: “I think the data shows that the most prolific weapons of mass destruction in this country are a cheeseburger and a soda.”

A long list of activist groups design false food scares to push their hidden agendas. Offending groups include, but are not limited to, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Environmental Working Group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Organic Consumers Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the Center for Food Safety.

Public Health Institute lawyer Ed Bolen has pushed for tobacco-style regulations on food, including price controls, zoning laws, minimum purchase ages, and even stocking snacks and candy behind store counters next to tobacco and pornography.

In every stage of these oppressions we have responded with skeptical inquiries, humorous retorts, and a healthy dose of common sense. Our repeated efforts have been answered only by repeated attempts to tax, control, and cajole us. A Food Cop whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to rule over free Consumers’ meals.

We therefore solemnly publish and declare that Consumers are, and ought to be, sovereign adults trusted to make their own food decisions. They have full power to eat, drink, and purchase without fear of harassment, violence, or tyrannical taxes.

It’s your food. It’s your drink. It’s your freedom.