Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Heart and Stroke Foundation Still Backpedaling on Trans-Fats

For long time readers, the Heart and Stroke Foundation hypocrisy highlighted here is not exactly going to be news. Newer readers on the other hand may find it surprsing.

You see the Heart and Stroke Foundation and most specifically their CEO Sally Brown are heavily entrenched in the war against trans-fats.

Only thing is, appeasement appears to be their battle cry.

Yesterday the trans-fat monitoring program coadministered by Health Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation released their year two findings.

The results?

Not surprisingly the non-regulated approach to removing trans-fat, referred to by Sally Brown in the past as a toxin unsafe in any amount, from our food supply is piecemeal at best. Still plenty of major transgressors and with no teeth to bite them and no incentives or disincentives other than market pressure (which does in fact amount to something - trans-fat free labels help sell foods), not much hope that anything real is going to happen anytime soon.

Of course none of this is a surprise to the Heart and Stroke Foundation's CEO Sally Brown as you'll see below, yet over the past few years, she has been very vocal about her support of this ridiculous voluntary approach afforded to industry.

One ray of light though - perhaps not everyone at the Heart and Stroke Foundation is as comfortable as Ms. Brown at dismissing the absolute need for regulation as Mr. Stephen Samis, the Scientific Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, last night on CBC televsion stated,

"We still do believe that the best way to regulate this across the country on a national scale is through regulation."
Below are a collection of posts from Ms Brown issued before the government decided to give Big Food the unconscionable gift of self-"regulation".

Frankly I feel badly for Ms. Brown, as I can't imagine that the woman who made the quotes below is truly ok with the charade of effort that has come to pass over the course of these past two years.

Here's some of what she had to say before she decided or was forced to kowtow to either Big Food or governmental pressure:

(By the way, the formal press release? Conducted at a Swiss Chalet. Nice to know the government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation think eating out is a good plan)

"Taking all the evidence into consideration, the task force agreed to a regulatory approach to effectively eliminate trans-fat 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