A dietitian and nutrition educator associated with the Physicians Committee
for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which promotes a vegan lifestyle and has
apparently been associated with the animal rights organization People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals, draws parallels between the tobacco and
food industries in an article titled “Why Big Food is the Big Tobacco of the 21st
Century.” Susan Levin notes that in 1962, the Royal College of Physicians called
for restricting tobacco advertising and sales to children and increasing the
cigarette tax, and that within the last week the United Nations “made almost
the exact same recommendations about unhealthful foods, which it says are
now a bigger threat to global health than tobacco.”

Levin implies that the food industry distorts science to market a dangerous
product, just like tobacco, and cites as an example how cigarette manufacturers
reformulated their products to low-tar and filtered when sales declined
“after early reports uncovered . . . health risks.” According to Levin, “Big Food”
continues to sell meat and dairy products, albeit reformulated as low fat
and low sodium to address public concerns about diets high in fat and salt,
despite “[a] mountain of evidence link[ing] meat and dairy-heavy diets to
cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.” She claims that the meat
and dairy industry have an even deeper relationship with government than
tobacco does and contends, “The battle currently raging on Capitol Hill to gut
healthy school lunch standards is a perfect example of the food industry’s
powerful sway over Congress.”

While she admits that Congress is unlikely in the near term to tax “Big Food,
crack down on “junk food” advertising to children and overhaul government
subsidies as recommended by the United Nations, she concludes, “the soone
we start treating Big Food like Big Tobacco, the better off we’ll be.” See AL.com,
June 9, 2014.

 

Issue 526

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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