Mark Bittman gave us a ton to think about today! Personally, I have libertarian leanings, and the idea of getting the government terribly involved in regulations about our food or any aspect of our lives is something that, at first blush, hits me the wrong way.
So the best point I think Bittman made today is that what we’re talking about isn’t so much regulating food, but regulating dangerous, addictive non-food substances. Soda is not food, Cheetos are not food, breakfast cereals are not really food. And so a certain amount of regulation, especially when it comes to children and to the rights of people who might be affected by others’ choices, is absolutely the domain of government.
If kids can’t buy beer, they surely shouldn’t be able to buy soda. If soda is as addictive as heroin and just as nutritious, we need to rethink how available and affordable it is.
A few years ago, I watched my father die a pretty lousy death from lung cancer – so many of those cigarettes smoked when they were cheap and readily available to him as a young kid in the 1950’s. It was an addiction he never was able to kick. I’m grateful that taxes and the collective demonization of cigarette smoking has made that sort of death much less likely for millions of others.
Unfortunately, we’ve yet to demonize processed foods the same way. That’s something we all can work on, simply by helping others become educated about it. Transparency should be demanded from the food industry – which also shouldn’t be in bed with our government regulatory agencies. Because it very much is.
I mostly agree with the grassroots proposals he puts forth at the end of his talk. WE all need to set the example and help those around us make the right choices. The free market will work well when people are informed, so let’s get them informed. Because yes, we are moving to the locavore, organic way of eating. Will it be our collective choice, or will it be forced upon us?
Only time will tell.