With the same lawyers who brought “Big Tobacco” to its knees
When I was a young boy growing up in Mississippi, smoking tobacco was ubiquitous. Almost everyone smoked cigarettes: farmers, executives, mechanics, ministers and doctors. Smoking was cool and every movie star of the day could be seen lighting up on a regular basis. But that was all before people realized that smoking could kill you.
As news spread about tobacco’s scientific link to cancer and other deadly diseases, the legal profession began a forty year campaign to get rich by putting the tobacco industry out of business. From a recent article in the New York Times (see link below):
Don Barrett, a Mississippi lawyer, took in hundreds of millions of dollars a decade ago after suing Big Tobacco and winning record settlements from R. J. Reynolds, Philip Morris and other cigarette makers. So did Walter Umphrey, Dewitt M. Lovelace and Stuart and Carol Nelkin.
Ever since, the lawyers have been searching for big paydays in business, scoring more modest wins against car companies, drug makers, brokerage firms and insurers. Now, they have found the next target: food manufacturers.
So, it turns out, most of the lawyers didn’t really care about our health, they were just looking for a big payday. They found one with cigarette smoking and were instrumental of driving positive change.
And although the tobacco companies are still in business, they are a mere shadow of their former self—and smoking is no longer considered cool by most people.
Fast forward fifty years. Now we have an eerily similar situation with big food—but this times it’s a lot more serious. Not only is it a much bigger mountain to climb, the consequences of our not making sweeping changes in our human food model—could be devastating for the entire human race.
First, why is it a bigger mountain to climb?
- The food industry controls our schools of nutrition. As such, there are only a handful of nutritional scientists who clearly see the link between our western diet and many chronic diseases.
- Most people, including the brightest and best-educated people across all walks of life genuinely believe that we “need” to eat at least some animal protein to be healthy. No one ever truly believed that they actually “needed” to smoke.
- Eating is essential to life whereas smoking is more of a recreational habit, more similar to drinking alcohol than eating food.
- Our entire “system” of politics, medicine, government, media, pharmaceutical industry will resist any drastic changes—and they will do their best to maintain the status quo.
Secondly, why are the consequences of not changing our diet so much greater? As I wrote in another blog a few days ago, there’s just so much more at stake.
For starters, by consuming the western diet, we’re not only promoting chronic disease for ourselves and our families, but we’re also contributing heavily to global warming, world hunger, water shortages and a host of other environmental horrors that will affect every living creature on this planet.
Further, by teaching this harmful, wasteful and unsustainable diet-style to the next generation, we’re contributing heavily to the long-term unsustainability of the human race.
Meanwhile, at least the legal battle has begun—and in addition to forcing some good changes within the food industry, it will also raise the awareness of the larger issues mentioned here. Here’s a status report from the article:
More than a dozen lawyers who took on the tobacco companies have filed 25 cases against industry players like ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo, Heinz, General Mills and Chobani that stock pantry shelves and refrigerators across America.
The suits, filed over the last four months, assert that food makers are misleading consumers and violating federal regulations by wrongly labeling products and ingredients. While there has been a barrage of litigation against the industry in recent years, the tobacco lawyers are moving particularly aggressively. They are asking a federal court in California to halt ConAgra’s sales of Pam cooking spray, Swiss Miss cocoa products and some Hunt’s canned tomatoes.
The legal games have begun but the real battle is unfortunately many decades down the road. Right now, they’re focusing on minor things like Pam cooking spray. Just wait until they realize that the casein in cow’s milk is the most powerful carcinogen ever discovered.
- Source article. Lawyers of Big Tobacco Lawsuits Take Aim at Food Industry – NYTimes.com.
- Earlier blog about smoking. Grotesque cancer images on cigarette packs in Australia
- Earlier blog. Why are the “world’s greatest thinkers” missing the boat…
- Earlier blog. Forget “saving the planet.” Think great grandchildren.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait for the lawyers, the media, the scientists or anyone else. You can take charge of your own health today.
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation