Agriculture, Business/Economy, Peter Blake

Blake: The Food busybodies will soon be buzzing you

The food fascists are coming, the food fascists are coming!

They resemble Jerry Seinfeld’s “soup nazi,” except they’re not funny and they’re pushing insects instead of a tasty mulligatawny.

Like pushers everywhere, they give you the first hit free — and they’re going after the kids.

In a recent page one story in The Denver Post, reporter Bruce Finley told of a class of 10-year-olds at the Denver Language School who were given cookies made of pulverized crickets.

The survivors were rewarded with another course: whole roasted crickets.

The kids tried to be polite and put on a brave face, but at least one openly resisted. A girl who described herself as “half vegan” figured she was virtuous enough already. “I’m saying meat is sort of OK,” she said. “But bugs? Not.” The strategy is to lay a guilt trip on impressionable young minds. “They’re forming their habits now,”said Wendy Lu McGill, the proselytizer at the Language School. “Whether or not they choose to eat insects, it’s important to me that they think about how their food affects the planet.”

Instead of savoring a T-bone steak, they should think of bovine flatulence on the range and global temperatures thus shooting up another degree or two.

If the Colorado House can pass a bill prohibiting psychiatrists and psychologists from administering “conversion therapy” to gays, shouldn’t it consider making it illegal for anti-meat evangelists to promote insects to those who were born carnivores?

The insect program — known in the trade as “micro livestock” or “alternative protein” — is being promoted in advance of a June conference in Denver on “slow meat,” which is supposed to be a step in the direction of no meat.

It’s sponsored by Slow Food USA, which says it promotes “holistic alternatives to the industrial system,” among other things.

For instance, “Supermarkets are the problem,” is the title of a blog featured on the home page of Slow Food’s Web site. Sure, says blogger Deborah Cohen, markets offer fresh leafy vegetables and lots of fruit, but “slotting contracts” arranged by giant food producers encourage grocers to put “low nutrient processed foods” at the locations where shoppers can least resist them: At the end of the aisle, in special floor displays and at cash registers.

“Placing new regulations on how food is marketed to consumers is certain to cause controversy among retailers, who will no doubt react with cries of ‘Nanny State,’ ” writes Cohen, “But there is no sign that the obesity epidemic in America will diminish on its own. Bold steps are needed.”

“Bold steps”? Uh oh. Sounds like someone fears persuasion isn’t enough and wants to introduce a bill in Denver or Washington mandating that all groceries feature broccoli at one end of every aisle, sauteed roaches at the other and Friends of the Earth magazine at the checkout counter.

By the way, it is “people with low incomes” who are most vulnerable to the supermarkets’ sly manipulation of product placement, according to Cohen. Their decisions are more “taxing,” they’re subject to “decision fatigue” and are more likely to buy “impulsively and emotionally” without regard to long-term consequences.

Such condescension is a hallmark of progressives, who are eager to protect the poor from themselves. They don’t have much money, and so they need help on how to spend it.

As you might imagine, the United Nations is up to its blue helmets in insect promotion. Its Food and Agricultural Organization released a a book two years ago alleged that beetles, wasps and caterpillars are “unexplored” nutrition sources that can help feed the world.

The book was called Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security. It claimed that not only are insects nutritional, breeding them would be helpful to the environment. Farming insects is especially relevant now that population growth and the rising middle class “have increased the demand for food while simultaneously harming the environment that enables its production.”

On the national front, the environment has also been dragged into nutritional issues by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a joint project of the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, which just released its quinquennial report.

Its charge is to consider only nutritional and dietary information, such as the usual “eat more fruit and vegetables, less sugar and meat” advice. But it couldn’t resist going beyond its mission to fret about the effect that so-called unhealthy diets have on “climate change” and the environment. “Current evidence shows that the average U.S. diet has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and energy use” compared to healthier diets, says the report.

That sounds like an excuse to try and legislate diets through future restrictions or mandates on agricultural production. It’s a small step from the promotion of healthy habits to coercion.

The government isn’t yet advocating the eating of insects — the technical term is entomophagy — but the day is coming. Meanwhile, dirty restaurants closed by local health departments because of the presence of roaches and ants may avail themselves of a new affirmative defense: “Just experimenting with healthy new diets, your honor.”


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