Jeremy Harding writes brilliantly about the future of food in this issue of the London Review of Books

Jeremy Harding writes brilliantly about the future of food in this issue of the London Review of Books

The London Review of Books’s article, What We’re about to Receive by Jeremy Harding, is excellent. I strongly encourage anyone who cares about animal welfare, environmental protection and human well-being and their interrelationships to read it. Harding goes where we need to go. He makes the dreaded comparison between tobacco and the consumption of harmful foods (read: meat and dairy). He is right to point out our selfish reaction to such a consequence that can no longer be ignored.

Politicians can legislate away civil liberties on a good enough excuse, as we’ve seen, but they’ve been loath to come out in the open and curtail consumer choice. It wasn’t so long ago that the tobacco lobby claimed civil liberties and consumer choice were one and the same – and perhaps the assault on smoking is a precedent for regulating our intake of ‘bad’ food. Incrementally, that’s to say, with a round of restrictions on advertising here, tougher directives to retailers there, health and sustainability warnings on products, fiscal measures that penalise harmful eating and draw the wrath of the lobbies. Imagine the media in tow, thickening up the atmosphere of disapproval. It’s an unattractive prospect.

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