Food Activists Want to Tax What You Eat

A major assault on consumer sovereignty is imminent, according to newly unveiled plans by the EAT-Lancet Commission, a billionaire-funded organization with deep ties to radical food activists, to impose a near-vegan diet on the world’s population through punitive taxation, rationing, and outright bans of disfavored products.

A few weeks ago, EAT-Lancet released a report promoting a supposedly “optimal,” plant-dominated diet which restricts daily consumption of pork to about one-tenth of a sausage and limits eggs to seven per month. Chicken rations amount to one and a half nuggets per day. Meanwhile, consumption of beans, lentils, soy, and nuts is significantly increased relative to current U.S. levels.

Medical experts were quick to point out that the so-called EAT diet is deficient in key micronutrients including calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin D. In crafting their nutritional goals and advocating for a drastic reduction in the consumption of meat and other animal products, the report’s authors also ignored empirical evidence that vegetarian and vegan diets can be harmful, especially to children.

The members of the EAT-Lancet Commission have a long history of extreme statements that call into question whether their recent report is the product of impartial scientific analysis. One of the report’s prominent authors, Dr. Marco Springmann of Oxford University, has called for a meat tax of more than 100 percent in high-income countries like the U.S. Another author, Harvard professor Walter Willett, claims that one of three early deaths could be avoided if we all adopted a vegetarian diet. These calculations are based on dubious assumptions, a selective reading of the epidemiological literature, and a refusal to acknowledge inconvenient facts.

There would be little reason to dwell on a few misinformed academics peddling silly nutritional advice, were it not for EAT-Lancet’s plan — described in detail in its latest report published in late January — to ram its radical agenda down our throats through government policy. EAT-Lancet has scheduled some 30 high-profile events around the world to promote its ideas, and its report openly discusses plans to use supra-national organizations with minimal democratic accountability to advance its policies of high taxes on animal products and massive subsidies to preferred foods. The authors urge the United Nations, as well as regional coalitions like the European Union and Pacific Forum, “to develop legally binding agreements such as the Framework Convention on Food Systems.”

Governments levying sin taxes on consumers, supposedly to promote healthy behaviors, is nothing new, despite evidence that these taxes do not improve public health. But EAT-Lancet’s plan takes this nanny state logic to its natural conclusion by proposing massive government intervention in the agricultural market to minimize consumer choices, establish population-level rationing programs, and implement outright bans on some foods. To help realize their vision, the report’s authors call on philanthropists and governments to create a $1 billion fund to support “social advocacy and social lobbying of civil society” to increase “demand for policy action.”

The foods we choose to put in our bodies are none of the government’s business. The authoritarian micromanagement of our dietary choices advanced by EAT-Lancet and similar groups is an affront on American values of freedom and personal responsibility.

FacebooktwitterredditlinkedinFacebooktwitterredditlinkedin