17 December 2012
When I wrote earlier today about the food police, I thought wanting to ban phone apps and rare burgers was rather extreme, but nothing compares to this.
Rachel Davey, the Director of the taxpayer-funded Centre for Research & Action in Public Health at the University of Canberra has just written a piece in the taxpayer funded The Conversation arguing not just for the usual policy clap trap of banning advertising and introducing fat taxes, but has actually gone so far as to advocate food rationing. That’s right, food rationing.
During the second world war (1939–1945), the British government introduced food rationing with a point system in every household. Everyone was allocated a number of points a month and certain food items, such as meat, fish, biscuits, sugar, fats, and tea, were rationed.
Every adult was given a total of 16 points a month and could choose how to spend these points. Special supplements were available for young children, pregnant women, and people with certain diseases. Wartime food shortages and government directives forced people to adopt different eating patterns. They ate considerably less meat, eggs, and sugar than they do today.
Rationing was enforced in Britain for 14 years, and continued after the war had ended. Meat was finally derationed in June 1954. Petrol was also rationed, so people stopped buying and using cars, and public transport was limited. There was no “obesity epidemic” as food supply and travel was limited, meaning people ate less and did more physical exercise (walking).
Interestingly, during the years when rationing was enforced, the prevalence of obesity was negligible in the United Kingdom. And waste was minimised as both individuals and government agencies were busy finding new ways of reducing the waste of food resources to a minimum (sustainable consumption).
Is it conceivable that some form of food rationing and portion control may help address the dramatic rise in obesity and the sustainability of our foods supply? If we continue to over-consume foods in unsustainable ways for both our health and our planet, we may be left with no other choice.
That’s right, we “may be left with no other choice” than for the government to implement food rationing.
The mind truly boggles.