Monday, December 5, 2011

American Export Policy – Sell Unhealthy Foods to Other Nations and Deny Them World Trade Organization Membership if They Resist

The Fat Ugly American Wants to Make The World Obese

Joining the World Trade Organization is a huge positive plus for the economies of most nations, and particularly so for the smaller, more impoverished countries of the world.  It immediately opens up markets for the export of goods to larger, more dynamic and prosperous nations, and so most countries will do anything to gain membership.

The most recent countries to get entry into world commerce through the WTO are the small, poverty stricken islands of the South Pacific.

After a 13-year wait, the South Pacific island nation of Samoa should win approval to join the World Trade Organization next month after dropping its ban on turkey tails. The WTO welcomed the nation, with a population of about 193,000 (a bit more than Knoxville, Tenn.) once Samoa agreed to end its ban on the fatty poultry scraps and impose import tariffs instead.

and that sounds great but what’s all the stuff about a ban on turkey tails (and what are turkey tails in the first place)?

Well a problem with the nation of Samoa is obesity. 

For Samoa, one of the world’s most obese nations, the deal is a mixed blessing. “These are the contradictions we have to face—where health is compromised for the sake of trade and development,” says Palanitina Tupuimatagi Toelupe, Samoa’s director general of health.

and the reason that Samoa and other nations in the region were banning the import of extremely unhealthy foods is that they wanted to improve the health of their people.  But that runs contrary to many business making a buck, particularly in the United States.  Of course we don’t frame the issue that way, we frame it in terms of freedom.

The U.S. food industry sees the issue differently. “We feel it’s the consumers’ right to determine what foods they wish to consume, not the government’s,” says James H. Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

So the reason Samoa and the other countries were enacting trade barriers had nothing to do with trade, and in no way were they trying to protect their own industries from world competition.  No they were trying to protect their population from unhealthy eating habits, but that is something U. S. business will not tolerate. 

A mix of culture, genetic susceptibility, and poor nutrition triggered the Pacific region’s obesity crisis. Female obesity rates in the region are alarming: Nauru (71 percent), Cook Islands (64 percent), Tonga (60 percent), Samoa (56 percent), and Palau, (51 percent), according to data from the World Health Organization. The same countries have the highest male obesity rates.

But the U. S. and others don’t just stop at unhealthy foods, there are other unhealthy things to unleash upon these people.

The NCD Alliance, which represents more than 2,000 health advocacy groups, says delegates from the U.S. and other wealthy nations watered down the resolution and guidelines related to alcohol and tobacco use; consumption of salt, fatty, and sugary foods; and access to medicines. “We believe it was because of lobbying from the food, beverage, and the alcohol industry,” says Ann Keeling, the International Diabetes Federation’s chief executive officer and NCD Alliance chair.

So the next time someone brings up a subject like, “What are the unanswerable questions left in the universe?” an easy answer is this.  “Is there anything the U. S. will not do to make money off of other people’s misery?” 

Get back to us when you have an answer.


  1. Why can't they put a high (like 100%) sales tax on turkey tails? NYC has discussed all kinds of taxes on sugary drinks etc. and I've never read anyone argue that such a tax would violate WTO rules.

  2. How to report a company who export unhealthy food with fake health documents?

  3. How to report a company who export unhealthy food with fake health documents?