The nutritional fable goes something like this: Rather than criticize industry for its questionable practices, health organizations should "sit at the table" with industry leaders and see what compromises can be reached. This all sounds wonderfully cooperative and democratic, but it also ignores some stark realities.
News came in the past week that the front-of-pack nutrition guidance program offered by Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation, presented as a seal of approval in the form of a check mark, was being decommissioned. With all due respect to my friends at the Foundation, and the good intentions that brought the system into existence -- good riddance to it.
What is a Big Food big-time player to do if they want to maintain an image of "being part of the solution" (especially in these times of high scrutiny from nutrition and public health advocates) while simultaneously battling public health interests that can hurt your bottom line? Easy: create -- and hide behind -- front groups.
Fortified junk food is still junk food. It isn't only what a food doesn't contain (i.e., those nutrients) that makes it dubious. It's what it does contain. The addition of vitamins and minerals does nothing to exonerate junk foods of their standard provisions of added sugars, added salt, artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, inflammatory fats, high glycemic starches, and willfully irresistible calories.
There is a point at which invoking personal responsibility to deal with a contrived array of obstacles is both benighted and callous. Yes, everyone should try to eat well -- but they should not have to overcome the ingenious manipulations of highly paid mercenaries conspiring against them to make it so.