Right to Farm laws are quite common in most agricultural states. In recent years, efforts have been made to go a step further and place these in state constitutions to insure that farms cannot be denied the chance to raise crops or livestock for food. In 2012, North Dakota became the first state place such an amendment in its state constitution. In 2014, both Indiana and Missouri will have measures on their ballots to make right to farm amendments part of their states’ constitutions. Given the kind of aggressive efforts by anti-agriculture activist groups, these amendments are needed. But given recent efforts to limit what food we can eat, perhaps we need a right to eat amendment.
This kind of law is needed to stop the relentless efforts by advocates to limit our food choices to only what they approve. For example, currently the California legislature is considering a measure — Senate Bill 622 — to place a $1.28 per-gallon tax on soft drinks in the state. In Nevada, Assemblyman Harvey Munford recently proposed a 5-cent extra tax on fast-food meals more than 500 calories. Similar “fat tax” laws have been implemented in dozens of states. They are all predicated on the theory that taxing “junk” food will mean people will eat less of it and thus lose weight. Unfortunately, this assumption is not backed up by facts. Consumer Freedom.com reports that, ” A 2010 study funded by the pro-soda tax Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that a soda tax of 40 percent had no statistically significant effect on the weight of individuals in the lowest income quartile. A 2010 Cato study found that ‘soda taxes are unlikely to correct for any real or imagined problems related to our nation’s obesity rate.'”
Taxing food is not the only threat; some cities have just outright banned the sale of some food products. From banning big drinks in New York to pulling chocolate milk from schools, the land of the free does not mean you are free to eat what you want. Even if the science or logic behind the ban is faulty or in most cases non- existent, activist groups are having success in taking certain food items right out of our mouths. Yet, more and more consumers are willing to swallow the misleading media spin and complacently allow their food choices to be limited.
In some communities, public harassment of retailers who sell certain food items is occurring. For example a San Francisco bacon restaurant is closed after neighbors complained of the smell coming from the establishment. It is possible that the restaurant called “Bacon Bacon,” will remain closed until at least July and able to secure the right permits to reopen. In the meantime, the restaurant’s owner will run his operation out of a food truck. There is a website dedicated to reopening the store. “Save Bacon Bacon” has amassed over two-thousand signatures.
Without the protection of a Right to Eat law, we soon return to the days of prohibition. if you want to drink soda, eat snacks, or enjoy bacon, you will have to go to a speakeasy, give the secret password, and be ushered into a back room to indulge in your favorite culinary delight, far from the eyes of the food police. A Right to Eat law would affirm that, along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is the right to decide for ourselves what to feed ourselves. This law should also establish to the president that we accept personal responsibility for what happens to us as a result of our food choices.
If the food radicals can get laws passed that ban big cups from convenience stores or cupcakes from school classrooms, then we should be able to pass a law that protects a consumers right to choose what they want to eat.
By Gary Truitt