2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
For release: May 30, 2000
For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
E-Mail: 76214.3676@Compuserve.com
Nutrition Summit this week is the
beginning of a 'War on Fatty Foods'

WASHINGTON, DC -- A National Nutrition Summit being held in Washington, DC this week could mark the beginning of an effort by the federal government to tax, regulate, or ban fatty foods like Twinkies, cheeseburgers, and ice cream, the Libertarian Party predicted today.

"It's official: The War on Fat has begun -- and the first victim of this war could be our right to choose the foods we want to eat," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national director. "If we don't stop them, politicians and bureaucrats will try to do to fatty foods what they've already done to cigarettes."

On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 30-31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health & Human Services will sponsor a Nutrition Summit that will bring together about 1,800 anti-fat activists from around the country.

The goal of the gathering: To consider strategies to force people to change their diets to combat what some bureaucrats say is an "epidemic of obesity" in America.

Among the specific sessions scheduled for the summit are:

  • A discussion of how restaurants should "modify the food environment for obesity prevention."
  • A review of the influence of advertising on diet -- and a discussion of the "changes needed to create positive influences on diet and activity."
  • A look at the personal "behavior changes" needed to achieve a "healthy lifestyle."

    Such sessions are clear evidence that federal busybodies plan to launch a massive intervention into the food choices of adult Americans, said Dasbach.

    "When bureaucrats talk about modifying the food environment at restaurants, they really mean mandatory warning labels on menus," he said. "When they talk about making sure advertisements have a positive influence, they really mean imposing federally mandated marketing restrictions. And when they talk about behavior changes, they really mean higher taxes on popular foods.

    "The agenda of this summit is clear: Uncle Sam plans to turn into Uncle FatBuster, and the government plans to launch a war on the foods you love."

    Federal bureaucrats have been remarkably outspoken about their desire to force Americans into "better" eating habits, noted Dasbach. Some examples, collected by the Guest Choice Network:

  • "People don't have the knowledge or willpower to select the right kind of food," said Dr. Rajen Anand, Director of the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Prevention.
  • "We're not doing the same kinds of things with obesity that we have done with smoking and alcohol as far as the government is concerned. It's got to be like smoking, a constant drumbeat," said Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.
  • "We need a strategy to deal with obesity. We need to intervene, break people's eating patterns," said Eileen Kennedy, USDA Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

    The bottom line is that federal bureaucrats don't think you can be trusted to decide what to eat, said Dasbach.

    "Consuming fatty foods may not be the smartest thing a person can do, but adult Americans have the fundamental right to choose what they want to eat -- without getting permission from a federal bureaucrat," he said. "That's why Americans need to stand up and tell the government: Don't tax my Twinkies. Don't ban my Ben & Jerry's ice cream. And don't regulate my refrigerator."

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