Is Big Food the Next Big Tobacco?
As the debate heats up over “Big Food” and its role in the nation’s obesity crisis, activists on either side are beginning to take action.
Recently, attorneys from the Valorem Law Group in Chicago, Illinois made proposals to several States’ Attorney Generals in an effort to explain how suing certain producers of unhealthy food and beverage products would help their state’s financial situation by providing funds to compensate for budget gaps that result from surging Medicaid expenditures.
As Politico describes it, in its article entitled The Plot to make Big Food Pay, Valorem’s idea is now revolutionary:
It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate . . . but a number of nutrition and legal experts think a similar strategy could be applied on the food front — especially as obesity-related diseases have surpassed smoking as a major driver of health care costs.
In addition to eliminating budget deficits, Valorem sees this as an opportunity to encourage broader public health policy strategies. As of last week, no SAG’s had decided to initiate a case against Big Food within their state.
Those who represent members of the Big Food industry complain that lawsuits, bans on certain food items, and taxes, all geared toward fighting obesity, are missing the true root of the problem. Instead, they cite to efforts by Big Food to transition from high-calorie products to healthier options.
Some challenge the comparison of Big Food to Big Tobacco since tobacco companies hid the dangerous effects of their products from consumers and producers of high-calorie foods did not attempt to shield consumers from the nutrition information of their products.
To read the complete story as reported by Politico, check here.