Junk food is a human rights issue, a U.N. expert warns. - Grist


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Junk food is a human rights issue, a U.N. expert warns.

Big corporations are swamping the global market with cheap, nutrient-poor grub, forcing people to choose between food that’s affordable and food that’s nutritious — essentially violating the right to healthy food, according to the official.

The international community is failing to meet global targets for combating malnutrition, said Hilal Elver, the U.N. special representative on the right to food, at a press conference on Tuesday. She points out that nearly half of the world’s population appears to lack access to adequate nourishment: 800 million go hungry, 2 billion suffer from nutrient deficiency, and 600 million are obese.

Elver points to free trade paired with the industrialization of the food system as the root of the problem.

She proposes that governments create stronger regulations for the food industry, ensure that policy decisions are not swayed by the private sector, and support laws that combat malnutrition and transition toward sustainable food systems.

Elver is also concerned about junk food companies that advertise to children in developing countries. As if you needed another reason to feel guilty about drinking Coke.