UNESCO Motions to Safeguard the Mediterranean Diet

April 7, 2011

tomato salad

In addition to adding the Gastronomic Meal of the French to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage elements, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has also declared The Mediterranean Diet an intangible piece of cultural heritage in need of protection. So what does "Mediterranean Diet" mean? High quality olive oil, fresh pasta, salty cheeses, heavy on the fruits and vegetables - but is that even accurate? According to recent data published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 21% of the Greek population is obese and over 75% are overweight. Why? Josef Schmidhuber, a senior economist for the UN FAO, speculates "Because they aspire to a Western diet, which they conflate with prestige and wealth.”

Photo by Simon Aughton