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Stronger Food Policies Needed

Jun 17, 2011 09:00 AM

Posted by Marc Xuereb

Foodie guru Wayne Roberts recent column urges governments to stop telling people to eat better, and to start passing laws that take action: http://wayneroberts.ca/archives/608.

Roberts begins by describing his rage at the disconnect between the findings and the recommendations of a recent British health study of the links between red meat consumption and cancer, While the report found a strong correlation between red meat consumption and cancer, its recommendation was to ask individuals to consider eating less meat, rather than asking governments to find ways to limit it. 

Roberts goes on to cite a long list of laws that could truly make a difference in discouraging unhealthy eating that have never passed, and another list of laws that have made it difficult to promote healthy eating.

Here’s an excerpt:

Vendor carts selling foods known to cause heart disease, no problem. Mergers of corporate giants and corporate takeovers of small competitive upstarts, no problem. Sales of food imports sprayed with pesticides and produced with labour practices illegal in the importing country, no problem. Genetic engineering unlabelled and unregulated without any authority from legislative votes, no problem….

Vendor carts that sell nutritious and fresh street foods, big problem. Products that truthfully advertise “no GE ingredients,” big problem. Government health ads that encourage eating less fat, big problem. (Eat more lean meats is fine; less of anything is a no-no.) Community gardens in parks, big ordeal. Farmers market in public space, big ordeal. Small home-based groceries in residential neighbourhoods classified as food deserts, big problem. Splitting up large farms into a series of affordable small farms in rural areas, big problem.

He ends with a call for governments to exercise their “duty of care” to protect people from unhealthy foods that are being pushed on them by profit-making corporations, since, as he says, telling people to “consider” their choices is extremely inadequate — especially for the people most limited in material and educational resources.

Read the full column here: http://wayneroberts.ca/archives/608.

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