Friday, July 15, 2011


In these days of unlimited freedom of speech or writing any one can say or write anything on any subject and there are hundreds who comment on them. The reader is left with no clue as to what is the real truth. For every shade of opinion there is an "equal and opposite" view and if the subject matter relates to food, the confusion is worst confounded! Here is an example of a critique who obviously is an avid supporter of the food industry and who does not like all the noise being made by activists regarding the damage wrought on the health of kids by the industry through their junk foods, promoted relentlessly and forcefully, day in and day out! Of course there is some substance in his line of argument and one cannot deny that parents are not exercising their responsibility in buying right foods for their kids. Unfortunately that does not absolve the government of its responsibility in protecting the health of future citizens, though it may look like coercion.

All sorts of nannyish and coercive ideas are emerging from that [movement] nowadays: proposals at the FDA to limit salt content in processed foods; mandatory calorie labeling, which poses a significant burden on many smaller food vendors and restaurants; new mandates on food served in local schools; advertising bans; and on a local level efforts to ban things like Happy Meals at McDonald's. No wonder many parents, local officials and skeptics in Congress are beginning to say: Back off, guv. It's my plate.

If the above critique has his say all the controls presently in place will be dismantled and the industry will get full freedom to do whatever it feels like doing. One wonders whether the world has to rewind the clock and go back to an era when the processed food industry was small and most foods were cooked at home from clean raw materials raised on green manure without pesticides! Even if one wants it, is it possible? The organic food movement more or less does it but the production from this sector does not cover even 1% of the global population! Why? Because there are plenty of logistical constraints that cannot be overcome in spite of the enthusiasm and motivation of the protagonists of organic foods. Regulations are here to stay to ensure consumer safety and all have to live with it whether one likes it or not.

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