While America’s food police have thus far been largely unsuccessful, control over food choices is a global goal. This weekend, two foreign developments took direct aim at dinner plates—including Americans’.
First, two “non-governmental organizations”—read “activist groups not elected by or accountable to the public”—are presenting a plan to a U.N. body to adapt tobacco control to food products. A group called Consumers International (a federation that includes the U.S. Consumers Union) will release a report at a Switzerland meeting of the World Health Assembly, a U.N. organ dealing with things like eradicating smallpox and polio, calling for the usual mix of warning labels, “fat taxes,” and so forth.
The activists claim that food companies and consumers will not make voluntary lifestyle and formulation changes. However, evidence suggests otherwise: Sugars consumption has fallen since its 2000 peak, and American companies have exceeded vastly their voluntary agreement to reduce calories supplied.
Meanwhile, in Ireland, a Senator from the Fine Gael party that leads the ruling coalition has called for an effective ban on candy. Catherine Noone proposed limiting the quantity of sugars in any food product at 20 percent of the product’s weight. Like the proposal by the Puritanical Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to “cap” the sugar used in soda, this is little more than a P.R.-tested way to ban candy and cola by the backdoor.
While these two proposals have thus far failed to fly the pond, their endorsement by governing parties and presentation before the U.N. are cause for concern. They likely won’t have a material effect on obesity rates, but they are sure to capitalize on hypocritical media mavens’ scaremongering to reduce consumer choice and promote anti-food agendas.