Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ontario's Useless Trans-Fat Gesture

So a couple of days ago Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty issued a press release detailing the Ontario Liberals coming ban of trans-fat in school cafeterias.

Should we be clapping?

Um, let me help you with this one.

Is it helpful to ban trans-fat in school but still have it sold in the variety stores and fast food outfits right across the street? Is it helpful to ban trans-fat in schools but still have it dripping in the products that parents pack in their kids' lunches?

Mr. McGuinty was quoted as stating in response to why they're pushing for this "ban",

"Our kids' health is just too important to risk."
If it's too important to risk in schools, why is it alright to risk it in the rest of the province? And what about everyone else's health? Trans-fats were referred to by the government's trans-fat task force as a toxin in our food supply that was unsafe at any level. If it's not safe in schools, why is it safe to have in our hospitals, daycares, nursing homes, government offices, supermarkets and restaurants?

He also states that one of the drives to do this is the effect of trans-fats on obesity rates. That one really irritates me as the evidence linking trans-fats specifically to rising rates of obesity is dodgy at best with most of it coming from animal studies that are far from conclusive. All he's doing is playing on Canadians' fears by throwing out the words "obesity" and "trans-fats" so he can make political hay.

Here's some free advice - if you're worried about obesity how about do something about the currency of weight? How about legislating for the inclusion of calories on menus and pushing for a Food Guide that recognizes that in Canada it's now considered abnormal to have a healthy body weight?

Bottom line - if it's not safe in the schools, it's not safe in the province. Get off the trans-fat fence and sit either on the side that feels our worry on trans-fats is overblown or on the side that thinks we should ban them outright. Impaling yourself on a fence post doesn't help anyone.

Shame on you Mr. McGuinty for such a blatant and useless attempt at manipulating the public into thinking you care.

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