So just how deep in the sand does your head have to be in order for Big Food to come in and generate a far more robust front-of-package labeling program than your non-profit, supposedly for health, organization's?
Why not ask the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check folks?
Rolling out in 2009 is Big Food's Smart Choices Program (example above) the stated aim of which is to,
"help shoppers make more nutritious food and beverage choices, at-a-glance, throughout the supermarket"Companies who are signing on?
Coca-Cola, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Unilever, and Wal-Mart (and Nestle's reported as considering it as well).
Nutritional criteria will include limiting:
- Total fat
- Trans fat
- Saturated fat
- Added sugars
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Fat Free/Low Fat Dairy
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Looking closer at the Smart Choices' criteria and then comparing them with the newly updated Health Check's (posted just over a month ago and not slated to be implemented until 2010) you can quickly see that aside from the fact that even Big Food recognizes there are more than 3 nutritional determinants of health, amazingly the Smart Choices Program is far stricter than the Heart and Stroke Foundation's on Health Check's 3 primary nutrient categories:
What this means of course is that once the Smart Choices Program rolls out, misinformed Canadian consumers who continue to choose Health Check options over Smart Choice Program ones thinking they're,
"shopping with the Heart and Stroke Foundation's dietitians"will at times consume orders of magnitude more salt, sugar and fat.
To give you some perspective on all of this, a comparable analogy would be Exxon coming up with a stricter set of environmental regulations than Greenpeace!
This of course brings me back to the notion that if this is the best that the Heart and Stroke Foundation's dietitians and Health Check's Technical Advisory Committee have to offer, perhaps it's time to hire some new blood (and frankly, fire some or all of the old).
Click here to send the Health Check's Technical Advisory Committee an email and included on the email will be Sally Brown (CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation), Stephen Samis (Scientific Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation), and Terry Dean (General Manager of Health Check).
[Disclaimer: The Smart Choices Program, while certainly superior to Health Check, is still overly minimalist and lax in its inclusionary and exclusionary nutritional criteria so please don't consider this post to be an endorsement.]