18 July 2011

Food Industry Tells Obama Goals Unrealistic

Of course the food industry is not going to give in to the Obama administration. They are going to test the water and hold out for not reducing much of anything in the name of taste and getting the public to eat their food. It would be economic suicide to to otherwise. According to the food industry, the public just would not eat the food if it had to follow the suggested guidelines of the Obama administration.

Of course, they have not gone far, as they are only setting the standards for foods that can be advertised to children. In this category, they are reducing sugar, salt, calories, and fat. And this is only the nation's largest food makers. It does not include the rest of the food manufacturers. Whether all will follow these standards remains to be seen.  If a food falls in sales, I would guess it will return to what it was.

In April, the U.S. government issued guidelines it said it hopes the food industry will adopt for lower amounts of sugar, salt and fats in foods advertised to children. Those guidelines are lower than the new industry guidelines just issued. The spokeswoman for the food industry called the guidelines “unrealistic and unattainable” and said “the government should modify its guidelines”.

She stated, "We share the same goals as these government agencies. We all want healthier kids," she said. "But we think the government's proposal is unworkable and unrealistic."

It is unfortunate that the food industry has taken this stance as the Obama administration will now probably step in and we will have government in the food industry more that it already is.

Obesity expert Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said "No one with a modicum of real-world common sense is surprised that the home-grown standards of food companies are less restrictive than the government standards the same companies rejected."

"The right approach, which the industry does not even seem to be considering, would be to link marketing to a reliable measure of overall nutritional quality, not just a select nutrient or two. One-nutrient-at-a-time guidance can be entirely misleading," Katz added.

When we are told that an estimated one-third of U.S. children are now considered overweight or obese, the food industry has an obligation which they are abdicating in favor of profits. Children that weigh too much are at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, and asthma, joint problems, and fatty liver disease. Then to these you may add discrimination, and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adult life.

So the food industries have said no to doing anything meaningful to help the problem for our children. Read the press release here.

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