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WHO pulls support for EAT-Lancet event

World Health Organization reportedly pulled sponsorship over concern for people's health and livelihoods.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reportedly decided against sponsoring the launch of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health in Geneva, Switzerland, following pressure from an Italian ambassador who raised concern regarding the impact of the largely plant-based diet on people’s health and livelihoods.

Despite the pull-back of the WHO endorsement, the event went ahead as planned at the end of March and was sponsored by the government of Norway, the British Medical Journal reported.

In addition to concern about the healthfulness of the proposed diet, it was suggested that there could be a loss of millions of jobs linked to animal husbandry and the food industry. Likewise, it was suggested that traditional diets, which are part of cultural heritage, could be destroyed and the freedom to remove dietary choice eliminated.

The EAT-Lancet Commission, which first released its recommendations on health and sustainability issues in January (Feedstuffs, Feb. 11), is seeking a 90% reduction in recommended animal-based protein consumption. The commission has even implied that it is willing to take the necessary steps to mandate such consumption levels through “laws, fiscal measures, subsidies and penalties, trade reconfiguration and other economic and structural measures.”

EAT is a well-funded global, nonprofit start-up with the stated mission of transforming the global food system. The Lancet is a weekly medical journal owned by Elsevier.

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