Oh dear. They’re talking about an FCTC treaty to deal with obesity. FCOC?
In a global show of support for increased efforts to tackle diet-related ill health, leading health campaigners and consumer advocates from across the world have publically endorsed calls for a tobacco-style Global Convention to protect and promote healthy diets.
With the world’s governments gathering in Rome this week for a conference that aims to address malnutrition in all its forms, an open letter calling for a binding treaty has been sent to the heads of the WHO and FAO, co-authored by Consumers International, the World Obesity Federation, the UK Health Forum and consumer groups in Fiji and Mexico, with the support of over 320 individuals and organisations.
The letter urges greater action to protect and promote healthy diets using a similar mechanism to the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control which has already proved successful in reducing tobacco use. The letter is addressed to WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan, and FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva, ahead of the International Conference on Nutrition (19-21 November, Rome).
The letter states that ‘the governance of food production and distribution cannot be left to economic interests alone,’ and urges governments to take regulatory action to reduce children’s exposure to marketing, to impose compositional limits on the saturated fat, added sugar and sodium content of food, to bring in fiscal measures to discourage the consumption of unhealthy foods, and to require all trade and investment policies to be assessed for their potential health impacts.
The authors, who have already drafted a Global Convention to Protect and Promote Healthy Diets, state such a treaty can ‘help Member States, particularly smaller nations, to maintain a robust defence of public health for their citizens.’
Amanda Long, Director General of Consumers International said “Diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer are increasing in all regions of the world, most rapidly in developing countries. The policy actions that governments take now will determine whether we can turn the tide on this health crisis. A binding Global Convention offers the best hope of protecting and promoting the health of all consumers.” (my emphases)
If it’s anything like the War on Smokers, then we may expect restrictions or bans on fat, sugar, salt, in public places (i.e. restaurants, hotels, take-aways). The idea will be to ‘denormalise’ traditional foods, and replace them with ‘healthy’ alternatives. which will all be vegetarian.
The result will be that, instead of just a few restaurants being vegetarian (as at present), they all will be. And the food in them will be served in ‘healthy’ small portions. It will be hailed as a ‘great success’ from Day One, particularly among meat-eaters, 70% of whom will claim to want to quit eating meat. There will be numerous studies showing how heart attack or cancer cases drop after the introduction of the anti-obesity bans.
But the result will be that many people will stop going to restaurants, and many of them will go bust. Most people will continue to cook whatever they like at home, but taxation on meat, fat, sugar, and salt will mean that people will be forced to cut back, unless they can get smuggled meat or sugar. There’ll be a revival of Sunday Lunches, when after a week of eating rice and lentils, a roast leg of (Hungarian) lamb will appear on the dinner table, followed by (Estonian) black forest gateau with (Siberian) double cream. Friends will come round with strings of real sausages, and little bags of sugar and salt,
What meat and sugar and salt that is still available at inflated prices in shops will come in plain packaging, and plastered with health warnings. “Meat Kills.” “Sugar Blocks Your Arteries.” “Salt Can Damage Unborn Children.”
Lots of people will become meat-haters, and declare that they can’t stand the ‘stench’ of frying bacon. The President of the United States will publicly give up eating meat, largely at the insistence of his/her wife/husband – but will in fact eat cheeseburgers in secret,
Meat-eating will now be described as an ‘addiction’, and Big Pharma will market expensive Meat Replacement Therapies, which will actually be minute amounts of fat, to stick on your arm with plasters. These won’t reduce cravings for meat.
Instead e-food will appear. This will be food that looks just like traditional food, but is actually wholly synthetic. An e-chicken will look just like a chicken, but will actually be a cleverly woven soy bean product. The WHO will outlaw e-foods because they ‘look like traditional foods we’re trying to de-normalise’.
Big Meat – cattle farms and their distributors – will be demonised, and excluded from policy debates.
As the War on Obesity mounts, obesity will indeed dwindle. Nearly everyone will become thin and emaciated. But this will be described as being ‘leaner and fitter’, even though the leanest and fittest will tend to die off quicker than others. Diseases of malnutrition will re-appear.
As the ‘health crisis’ deepens (and by now there really will be a health crisis), there will be calls for tighter controls and further restrictions. Portion sizes in restaurants will be halved, and home cooking outlawed…
That’s about as far ahead as I can see.
Did I miss anything?