Government and the Promotion of Industry Over Health

Scott Gottlieb, who chairs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the intent of the agency to allow only the use of the word "milk" for those products meeting its definition. And what is the FDA's definition of the term milk? According to Title 21 Part 131 of the Code of Federal Regulations, milk is defined as "the lacteal secretion from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows."

So, out with nursing mothers. You'll have to find another name for your breast milk. Out with milk of magnesia. Out with goat's milk. Out with soy milk and out with oat milk and out with rice milk. And of course, out with nut-based milks. No matter that we can trace the making of almond milk back to 1597 when the Herball or Generale Historie of Plantes referenced almond milk as being the liquid pressed from almonds. That precedes the dairy industry as we know it today.

I suppose the one species among us that will be happy is the cat. As cat lovers know, cats love milk from cows, but not so much nut-based milks. They'll tolerate nut-based milks, but as a species, they seem to really go for the lactating secretions of the bovine. LOL!

At any rate, this is exactly why I recently opposed a bill in Congress that would have required food stamps, or should I say SNAP benefits, to be used for only healthy foods. Because as soon as you require that, then you have to define what is and what isn't a healthy food. And who would do that? The answer is, it would be defined by government bureaucrats working for political appointees who bend to the wishes of politicians who do what lobbyists with the biggest checkbooks want done.

And the biggest checkbooks when it comes to food are held by the dairy industry, the meat industry and the processed food industry. These groups hold sway over the government when it comes to defining what is healthy. And, like the tobacco industry, they can create enough confusion through their funded scientific projects, to make the average government employee not really know for sure what is healthy and what is not healthy.

That's how we ended up with a food pyramid for so many years that had people eating 11 servings of white bread, white pasta and rolls and croissants and other so-called grains. And because of the government's war on fat, we all thought as long as we bought fat-free doughnuts and sweets, we were eating healthily. And Americans continued to get fatter and fatter. And sicker and sicker.

So, no I don't want the government telling us how to eat. And that's why I will fight against attempts by the government to do so. Telling SNAP recipients that they can only buy certain foods with their food stamps is a move in the wrong direction by allowing government more say over what we eat. You know that if this FDA regulation goes through, that cow's milk would be on the healthy okay to buy side and nut milks would be off the list. The government would give in to the dairy industry and SNAP recipients would not be allowed to buy nut milks with their benefits.

The fight needs to be through informing people at a more individual level. Change needs to happen person by person. It needs to happen because the person wants to change, not because government is forcing change. If the dairy industry becomes successful in forcing through this change, then the meat industry will be next in demanding that only animal muscle be identified meat. Which I would be less adverse to because I don't believe there is anything particularly healthy about the fake meats that are out there. And I think true vegans should not be trying to imitate the taste of animals in their food choices.

But regardless of what I think on that, I don't think government should be dictating our food choices. We need to leave it up to each individual to learn to eat right. It's easy to pass laws and to sign executive orders. The hard work comes at the grassroots level of getting in there and teaching people why they should eat whole food, plant-based, helping them to learn how to do it and working to eliminate the food deserts that so many of them live in. That's the work that counts. That's what will bring meaningful change.