Tuesday, May 18, 2010


There are many divergent views about the relation between food and nutrition, some even against the present established norms of nutrition science. There are claims that fat is not responsible for obesity, salt is not injurious to health, sugar is not harmful, HFCS cannot be blamed for some of the disorders, etc. Of course absence of unanimity always presents problem when food standards and policies are to be drawn at national and international levels. But what is galling is the continued vacillation in taking bold policy decisions that will have a chance to reverse the present trend of uncontrolled production and consumption of unbalanced products being churned out by many manufacturers in the food processing sector.

"But the professor said New Zealand was going against the world trend, even among conservative governments. Its policy amounted to a subsidy for bad foods and taught children that eating them was normal. He said obesity and the diseases it causes - such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers - would overwhelm health services without major changes. Simply telling people about healthy eating and activity was of limited value as educational methods worked only on the well educated".

"PROFESSOR'S CURE * Ban junk food from state-owned premises.* Reduce GST on fruit and vegetables and increase it on foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat.* Introduce coloured "traffic light" labels to grade packaged foods for consumers from healthy to unhealthy.* Ban food marketing to children.* Establish food and activity requirements for school".

Though many of the cures proposed are already known, there is no unanimity amongst scientists as well as the policy makers regarding desirability of controlling the industry too much, especially under a democratic system. It is better that a universal consensus is evolved amongst the members of WTO that can be the basis for evolving a sound policy of influencing the "health content" of products from the industry which will help not only the consumers in each country but also facilitate hassle free global trade in "good" foods.


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