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International Treaty needed : 'Big Food' driving obesity & climate change

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The Independent

International treaty needed to stop 'Big Food' industry driving obesity and climate change, report says

'Lobbying by multinational corporations and trillions in government subsidies for unsustainable agriculture and fossil fuels are driving obesity, malnutrition and climate change, a major report has warned.

Taxes on red meat and subsidies for more efficient crops that could feed many more people are among the measures proposed by the Lancet Commission on Obesity report.

Drafted by an international panel of 43 biologists, climate scientists and policy experts, it also calls for a global treaty to limit the influence of “Big Food” which is hamstringing moves to more sustainable diets and lifestyles.

Similar measures were agreed to limit the influence of tobacco companies in health policy. “The similarities with Big Tobacco lie in the damage they induce and the behaviours of the corporations that profit from them,” author Professor William Dietz, from George Washington University, said.

The report, published in The Lancet, comes after a separate commission proposed a “planetary health diet” which called for red meat to be limited to the equivalent of one burger a fortnight.

While industry groups said the latest proposals would see the cost of everyday essentials rise, climate change will also drive up prices from crops lost to droughts and flooding – meaning many more may go hungry.

The food system generates 25-30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, and cattle production accounts for over half of those, the report says.

“Until now, undernutrition and obesity have been seen as polar opposites of either too few or too many calories,” said Professor Boyd Swinburn, co-chair of the commission.'

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