Food system 'heading for crisis'

February 16, 2012

Australians are eating themselves to death and our food choices are one of the nation’s leading causes of environmental damage, according to a new report released today by the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA).

At today’s launch of A Future for Food 2, the PHAA made an urgent call to the Federal Government to take responsibility for the crisis in our and establish a dedicated Ministry of Food with a position within Cabinet to drive cross-portfolio efforts.

PHAA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Moore said obesity and other diet-related disease were evidence of a serious failure of the current food system and a ‘do nothing’ approach will allow the system to slip into crisis.

"There is growing evidence that in Australia a poor diet contributes more to people being sick than any other single risk factor including tobacco and alcohol."

need to eat less and eat differently to address the sky-high rates of preventable diet-related disease. The current food system is skewed towards energy dense foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. We need to make healthy food choices the easiest and most affordable option for all Australians.”

The PHAA also believes that while the phenomenon of diet-related disease is grabbing headlines and what is not recognized is the significant impact of our on carbon emissions. The association pointed out that more than 30% of Australia’s carbon footprint is related to food production.

According to PHAA Food and Nutrition spokesperson, Associate Professor Heather Yeatman from the University of Wollongong’s School of Health Sciences public health nutrition has the responsibility to promote food that is not only healthy, but also environmentally sustainable.

“There is overwhelming evidence that certain diets and styles of eating impact more heavily on the environment than others. Fortunately, an environmentally sustainable diet is also a diet that protects against preventable disease,” Professor Yeatman said.

“Moving toward a plant-based diet with smaller amounts of meat from sustainable sources and reducing consumption of highly processed foods -- such as takeaway foods that rely on fossil fuel use in production, or use excess packaging -- will help to achieve two goals.

“These goals are reducing the incidence of diet-related disease and reducing the impact of the food system on the environment,” Professor Yeatman said.

Mr. Moore said working with the food industry was essential to implement changes in the food system, however, vested interests must not drive the policy decisions of governments. The food-related research and policy actions of government in the different sectors of health, primary industry, environment and social justice must also be connected.

“The Federal Government must lead the collaboration and establish a healthy, sustainable and fair food system with public and environmental health at its core,” Mr. Moore said.

Explore further: Nutrition policy favours food industry - not public health

More information: A FUTURE FOR FOOD 2 Report is available at this site .

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3.2 / 5 (11) Feb 16, 2012
Giving any government more power is exactly like gining an alcoholic teenager the keys and a bottle of whiskey. Markets best control the distribution of goods and services. Bureaucrats do nothing well and why anyone would think they would is beyond me. Let folks eat what they want and can afford. Not a function of any government.
2.8 / 5 (11) Feb 16, 2012
The ills of free societies are the cost of freedom, a cost well worth paying.

It requires a constant effort to maintain a free society as against the constant encroachment of big government, because there are always naive far left idealists, pro-big government social engineering dolts, who think they have discovered something in finding solutions to societies imperfections.

They're basically stupid because, they never understand that such a leftist utopia, besides never having existed, is not worth the attempt, given the basic rights one must give up. This is why free societies have historically prevailed of communism.

I don't must people in the USA understand what far left liberalism is. They have no problem telling you what temp to set you air conditioning, what to eat, how far and what to drive, and the list is indefinite, because they 'know better than you', and their demands are for the "good of society", and you're just an individual.
2.8 / 5 (9) Feb 16, 2012
[I don't think most people in the USA understand what far left liberalism]
3.7 / 5 (9) Feb 16, 2012
Soon there will be govt agents inspecting homemade lunches and confiscating them from elementary kids and forcing them to eat school food.
Oh, wait, that just happened in the US.
3 / 5 (6) Feb 17, 2012
This isn't about intrusive government placing burdens on its citizens. It's a government trying to help its citizens when nothing else is working. I wish them well.
3 / 5 (6) Feb 17, 2012
@SteveMerrick said:
It's a government trying to help its citizens when nothing else is working.

"I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." This is an old cliche, and a warning worth heeding.

Since when do governments help without being intrusive or placing burdens? Especially when addressing personal areas like food choice which is none of the government's concern or business?

...made an urgent call to the Federal Government to take responsibility for the crisis...

It would be best for Australians if their government ignored the call.

Although I certainly wish the Aussies in general well, I do NOT wish the PHAA's efforts success.
2.3 / 5 (9) Feb 17, 2012
This isn't about intrusive government placing burdens on its citizens. It's a government trying to help its citizens when nothing else is working.

How do you think intrusive government and massive social engineering comes about?! Every society has intrinsic problems, which are due to FREEDOM. Do you understand? This is not to be corrected by government.

The citizens should take responsibility, and suffer the consequences for not taking responsibility, for their own actions, like adults used to do. The government is not your mommy.

Any idiot could solve social problems, if it was acceptable to remove freedom of choice from people. This is not a new discovery, it's just that new weaker generations appear that know nothing about past experiences.

The reason we don't live in a leftist idealist utopian society, now if because previous generations rejected the cost to their personal liberties.

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