On June 12, 1957, Surgeon General Leroy E. Burney stated that “evidence pointed to a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer,” thereby changing the official position of the United States Public Health Service. This small but significant move opened the door to regulation of Big Tobacco, beginning a battle that came to a head last week with the FDA being granted the most power over the industry to date.
More than half a century later, Michael Pollen sheds light on another industry wreaking havoc on our nation—Big Food. His film, Food Inc. reveals the dysfunction our current food system. Highlighting the obesity epidemic and the constant threat of contaminated food, makes sure to let us know that we have a problem as big as smoking: an addiction to cheap, unhealthy food perpetuated by an industry intent on maximizing profits at the expense of our health and our land.
Watch the film. It will change the way you think about those Cheetos you snack on during your favorite show or the burghers you snarfed this weekend. But most important it will make you want to take action. We need to get together and demand that our current food system be reformed. We cannot allow these companies to reap profits while our country’s waistlines thicken and our health declines.
But being part of a sustainable solution is not in Big Food’s interest. Instead, they continually deny the correlation between obesity and fast food as “junk science.” Remember Big Tobacco? They spent years insisting that there wasn’t enough evidence that smoking caused lung cancer. The results were that millions of people had to die before the government acted.
Good health, food safety and sustainability will never exist in our current food system because Big Food is standing in the way. There are too many politicians that have ties to the industry and there is unfortunately too much profit to be made by exploiting people like us.
While millions still die of smoking related illness every year, it’s not too late to lift the veil from Big Food, and in doing so, save lives and public health for years to come.