Monday, January 07, 2008

Trans Fat Hypocrisy Continues at the Heart and Stroke Foundation

Some of my longer term readers may remember a post from a while back that contrasted the messages of the Heart and Stroke Foundation's CEO and Chairperson of Canada's trans-fat task force Sally Brown taken from before and after Tony Clement announced that our government was not going to adopt the task force's consensus recommendation to regulate trans-fats in our food supply in place of a please, pretty please wait and see gift to the food industry.

Well that hypocrisy continued a few weeks ago when the first "report card" came in. Sally Brown had this to say in the Heart and Stroke Foundation's press release on the report,

"Many companies have made significant progress in reducing trans fats, which we applaud, but other companies do not seem to be getting the message."

"At the end of the day, this first report on trans fat is mixed
Clearly this shouldn't have been a surprise to her as prior to the official government stance she had been quoted as saying,
"if you don't regulate it, it'll be piecemeal"
A point not lost on MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis who a few weeks ago in a meeting of the Standing Committee on Health stated,
"That's my point. The task force said to put in place your regulations so that by June 2008 industry must be in compliance. You are now letting them off the hook until the spring of 2009; then you're going to assess, and then you're going to see if mandatory.... Look at how much time is wasted, when you have the facts, you have the correlation, and you know what works.

Who got to you? Why the delay? It's not industry. Who got to you, or the minister? What happened?
I'd love to pose those same questions to Sally Brown and also to Stephen Samis, the Director of Health Policy for the Heart and Stroke Foundation who in this CBC video from April 2007 clearly made the case for a regulated approach:

If anyone knows where the Sally Brown from before has gone perhaps you could discuss her own quotes with her, more specifically the quotes she gave before she decided that along with the government the Heart and Stroke Foundation would apparently prefer to sit idly by while the industry enjoys their 2 year get out of jail free card.
"Taking all the evidence into consideration, the task force agreed to a regulatory approach to effectively eliminate transfer in all processed foods"

Sally Brown, CBC News Jun. 28, 2006

The task force took many factors into consideration and was careful in choosing the limits and timeline that it did"

"When you're changing public policy, you have to come up with a solution that is doable, practical but meets your outcomes and that's what we very much tried to do"

"We believe if these regulations were promulgated, Canada would become a world leader in this area"

Sally Brown, Vancouver Sun Jun. 28th, 2006

"The problem is, without regulations, we won't get everyone on board and it's harder to get product changes. Unlike french fries, with something like doughnuts and chocolate bars, you have to take it out of the formulation which is more difficult. We needed regulations uniform across both sectors"

Sally Brown, Vancouver Sun Nov. 1st, 2006

"Trans fats are a "toxic" killer that need to be removed from the food chain as soon as possible"

"We know that the government is taking our recommendations very seriously, but we also know that they're getting some push back from industry who traditionally don't like regulatory approaches"

"Our argument is, if you don't regulate it, it'll be piecemeal"

"We also say that by regulating it, you're sending a signal to the marketplace to ... create healthier oils."

"We think we've given the government a great opportunity to implement what was a consensus report," she said. "[The food industry] supported all the recommendations, they're ready to act. Now we need the government to act."

Sally Brown, National Post Jan. 11th, 2007

"We don't understand why the federal government has not moved on this important health issue,"

"We want this toxin - which is what it is - removed from our food supply"

"Canadians are consuming on average 2.5 times the daily limit, and in some age groups, much higher than that"

Sally Brown, CNews, Apr. 5th, 2007

"could account for between 3,000 and 5,000 Canadian deaths annually from heart disease"

"The longer we wait, the more illness and in fact death will happen, so we know we have to get it out of our food supply"

"There is no safe amount of trans consumption, but many of these foods are well past recommended limits."

Sally Brown, The Windsor Star, Jun. 5, 2007
I miss you old Sally Brown.