The Current of Food Politics

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Diet, Food Politics, Nutrition | Tags: , , |

A guest blogger at Scientific American recently made this tongue-in-cheek post: Dear American Consumers: Please Don’t Start Eating Healthfully. Sincerely, the Food Industry.

It pointed me to the 2009 Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children and the guidelines this group created which included:

…that foods advertised to children must provide a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet.” For example, any food marketed to children must “contain at least 50% by weight one or more of the following: fruit; vegetable; whole grain; fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt; fish; extra lean meat or poultry; eggs; nuts and seeds; or beans.

megan-picking-cereal

And here is some of what one food industry member, General Mills, had to say about the guidelines in a public comment letter:

  • under the IWG guidelines, the most commonly consumed foods in the US would be considered unhealthy
  • of the 100 most commonly consumed foods and beverages in America, 88 would fail the IWG’s proposed standards
  • it would cost [the food industry] $503 billion per year [if the guidelines were implemented]

Just in case you weren’t sure, it’s not that our government doesn’t know what would be good policy-because clearly they have studied it, it’s that officials lack the will to prioritize the needs of its people over the highly organized, professional and well paid voice of the food industry.

So, I swim against the food industry-created and government sanctioned current for the benefit of me and my family. My children and I discuss the confusing messages of the McDonald’s commercials. We talk about why sugared cereal is placed right at their eye level in grocery stores. We teach our pediatrician that milk isn’t the only (or best) way to get calcium.

Yeah, I’m that lady. And I’m OK with it.

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2 Responses to “The Current of Food Politics”

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What many of us fail to remember is that food companies are companies…first and foremost. That means they are looking to make a profit–and unhealthy food is generally more profitable.

For another example of horrible company behavior, check out http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/30/187330235/no-frosted-mini-wheats-don-t-make-your-kids-smarter?sc=tw&cc=share – where Kellogg had to pay a paltry $4 million fine because they stated that their cereal made kids “20% more attentive”. I’m pretty confident their increased sales beat their fine. 😉

“companies are companies…first and foremost”…you are so right, freshnibbles! love the mini wheats npr link you gave. nothing surprising there. those were the same years of rice krispies claiming it could boost your immunity and a few other notably bad claims.

this recently came my way: http://m.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-junk-food-can-end-obesity/309396/

once you wade through all the anti-pollan type stuff and his lack of understanding about the difference between real food and processed food (which is mind boggling in and of itself), his basic statement seems to be that the food industry is best poised to lead us back to healthier eating. in this, he completely ignores the fact that the only reason industry even contemplates creating healthier versions of its products is because the pressure is on from many pollan-like sources. i have every reason to believe that when the pressure is gone (as freedman suggests should happen) so too will be the movement out of the sugar-salt-fat-crap trap of fast/processed foods.

in essence he forgets companies are companies.


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