On the menu?
- A much needed revision for Canada's Food Guide
- A ban on the advertising of food to children
- A front-of-package labeling program designed to help consumers better navigate the grocery store
- A ban on trans-fats (something promised by a former Minister of Health back in 2007)
- A nutrition facts panel that included information on added sugars
"introducing new restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, similar to those now in place in Quebec; bringing in tougher regulations to eliminate trans fats and to reduce salt in processed foods, similar to those in the United States; and improving food labels to give more information on added sugars and artificial dyes in processed foods."What is surprising though is the announced timeline of 5-10 years to implement.
I can't wrap my head around that.
While clearly change doesn't happen overnight, I can't come up with a plausible explanation for why Canadians will be forced to wait for up to a full decade for these changes as:
- The last Food Guide revision took just over 3 years once the prior Guide's assessment had been completed (where we are now with 2007's Guide).
- Québec has successfully managed an ad ban to kids for the past 36 years.
- Established Front-of-package programs abound and as evidenced by their own marketing campaigns and product reformulations, industry is able to quickly change their packaging to suit their needs (or requirements).
- Health Canada's own trans-fat task force, an industry inclusive task force, provided us with their blueprint for trans-fat's regulated reduction a decade ago.
- The road to added sugar labelling is already well paved by the FDA in the United States.
Having had the pleasure and honour of meeting with Dr. Philpott in the past, I am very comfortable stating my belief that if she were able, these changes would occur far faster than the timeline she's laid out. Which leads me to assert, admittedly without proof, that the food industry lobby in Canada is far more influential than anyone would believe.
[For more on this, definitely have a peek at the award winning journalist Holly Doan's terrific CPAC piece on this government's mandate regarding obesity (disclosure - I'm in it). To watch the video when you get to the link, click the language button below the video to get it rolling as clicking the arrow doesn't do it]