In preparing to attend the PCRM 25th Anniversary Gala this coming weekend in LA, I can’t help wondering: Does or can history really repeat itself?

Just think back to a few years ago, when we saw cigarette smoking displayed in advertisements from magazines and newspapers, to sexy television commercials. All extolled the virtues of cigarette smoking, which if true, smoking only one would have satisfied you for a lifetime. Remember the TV ad with the “doctor” in the white exam coat telling us that more doctors preferred a particular brand of filtered cigarettes over other brands?

What happened? Forty to fifty years ago the public became aware of the health hazards associated with smoking i.e. heart disease, cancer, emphysema, increased health costs, etc. Slowly but surely, an informed populace began to demand accountability from our elected officials, and the tide began to turn. Remember how the tobacco industry fought disclosure of the health risks and withheld information? Now, anyone today who chooses to smoke cigarettes certainly does not do so out of ignorance, but out of indifference to their personal health and cost to society. At least in the U. S. and developed countries.

Is another similar shift stirring in the wind? Could it be that for the past five to ten years we have been witnessing the beginning of a new awakening, and an enlightened populace? More and more we are seeing vegetarian and vegan options on menus, and even restaurants that are totally dedicated to exclusive vegan/vegetarian menus. More and more, doctors across the country are embracing what some would call a nutritarian plant based diet to arrest and reverse heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. All supported by documented, peer reviewed, published studies in prestigious journals. Many such studies conducted by recognized and renowned research organizations and individuals.  In the face of skyrocketing health costs, childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer rates, the public, along with doctors, and the media are slowly becoming educated. They are beginning to demand disclosure, accountability and responsibility from our government and from corporate America for the health consequences of promoting an irresponsible and unhealthy diet on an uninformed public.

Take PCRM for example. PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) is a multi faceted organization. One facet has been taking on the big commercial agricultural, processed food interests and the fast food industry to hold them accountable for truth in advertising. In California, they have recently filed suit to require the fast food industry to comply with existing laws requiring posted disclosure of carcinogens in the foods they are serving. Is this an early sign of a new era? Is the day coming when the food industry counterparts to the tobacco industry will be held financially accountable in our civil courts, for the health consequences that have been knowingly foisted upon an unsuspecting public? Is there a day of reckoning coming for the processed food, beef, poultry and dairy industries? I believe so. The dike has sprung a leak. Can the finger of the processed food, meat and dairy industries plug the hole and stem the coming deluge? I think not.