Yesterday, Marion Nestle (author of Food Politics) posted a link and a rallying cry. She is an outspoken critic of our industrial food system who is nationally known and respected. So when she calls a situation urgent, people take notice.
Her post was spurred by the possibility that some industry guidelines for how food is marketed to children will be weakened or abandoned. Many of the largest food companies are reportedly irate, condemning the ‘rules’ as impossibly restrictive. That the ‘rules’ are completely voluntary and were made by health and food experts from the CDC, USDA, and other agencies, seems to make no difference. The fear that Captain Crunch may be outed as “NOT part of this nutritious breakfast” apparently strikes fear in the hearts of CEOs.
Her post includes a link to a form e-mailer allowing people to easily add their voices to the fray by sending messages to some of our politicians supporting the new food guidelines. These voluntary guidelines are intended to stop the cartoon-junkfood link that fills Nickelodeon and every other kids TV station day after day. As Ms. Nestle says, how angry the big food companies are getting is pretty good proof it’s a good plan.
Here is the reconstructed text of the email I wrote to President Obama, the First Lady, the head of Agriculture, and a few others involved in the debate. Also, this is the link to do the same yourself, with the easy option of simply using the form letter provided.
I am a family doctor who sees the damage caused by over-promoted, artificially enhanced food every day. Many of my youngest patients are obese by kindergarten and pre-diabetic before middle school. Their parents are sick, depressed, under-productive, and often headed for disability in their 30’s because of the same food issues.
No one considers it overbearing or ‘nanny state’ when children are denied vodka and cigarette packages come with strong warnings and heavy taxes. Why would we let the big food companies have abusive freedoms that Phillip Morris and other cigarette makers can only dream of?
Please resist any and all efforts to dilute the good first steps the Interagency Working Group has produced. Consumers cannot keep pace with the complexity of food chemistry and the sophistry of food advertisements. We need protection, and you are in a position to provide it. Please do.
Sincerely, Dr. Eric Marcotte
If you care about the health of our children and want to see some positive changes made, click the link above and send your own message!