How The Trans-Pacific Trade Deal Affects Health

The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the free trade deal between the U.S. and 11 countries currently being negotiated, has a potentially troubling effect on food, diet, and health in member countries. The new trade agreement’s goal: to “negotiate comprehensive and preferential access” for American businesses to foreign markets, includes all the food items America sells – from agricultural products like meat and grain to processed foods like Coca-Cola and Cool Whip.

Health officials in Australia issued a report warning of the likely health effects of the TPP on the diet, obesity and diabetes rates of their citizens.

As Mark Bittman argued in a recent op-ed in the New York Times, the agreements can also be seen as an attack on farmers and food safety.

“The pact would threaten local food, diminish labeling laws, likely keep environmentally destructive industrial meat production high (despite the fact that as a nation we’re eating less meat) and probably maintain high yields of commodity crops while causing price cuts.”

Do you think the U.S. should bear responsibility for rising obesity rates in its trading partners, or is it up to individuals to make healthy buying decisions even if the unhealthy choices are more readily available? Let us know your thoughts.

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