The Food Industry Flexes Its Muscles

By Jacobson, Michael F. | Nutrition Action Healthletter, July-August 2014 | Go to article overview

The Food Industry Flexes Its Muscles


Jacobson, Michael F., Nutrition Action Healthletter


Forget those feel-good ads. Forget the photos of food industry executives standing next to First Lady Michelle Obama. The food lobby has been out in force to thwart the government's efforts to improve the public's health. Some examples:

* Schools. Companies that sell food to schools are working with (mostly) House Republicans to gut the recent improvements in school meals. If they get their way, kids will be eating less fruits and vegetables and more salt and white bread.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The industry is hiding behind the School Nutrition Association, the misnamed organization of cafeteria directors that gets half its funding from food companies. Never mind that this generation of kids is the heaviest ever and will likely have the highest rate of diabetes ever.

* Spuds. The potato industry, working with Democrats and Republicans from potato-growing states, is trying to get white potatoes into the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Special Supplemental Nutrition program. Never mind that women and children already eat plenty of white potatoes and don't need the government to give them more. The welfare of potato growers and processors clearly comes first.

* Trans fat. Food manufacturers want to weaken, if not kill, the Food and Drug Administration's proposal to revoke the approval of partially hydrogenated oil, the main source of heart-damaging artificial trans fat. Never mind that trans fat can easily be eliminated from processed foods. So far, Argentina, Austria, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland have done it, and their food industries seem to have survived perfectly well.

* Sodium. …

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