The past few years of upheaval in how people grow, cook, think about, and eat food has left no corner of the supermarket untouched. Even bread, that most ancient, simple, beloved staple of diets around the world, has been the subject of both crisis and passionate revitalization. But behind every machine-sliced sandwich bread or carefully crafted artisan loaf is a simple question of language.
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.
Truly unprocessed food doesn't need to toot its own horn with meaningless call outs and claims, nor is it composed of a litany of ingredients, including artificial flavoring and neon-bright dyes. Above all, remember: The front of a product's packaging is pure marketing -- ingredient lists tell the true tale.