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The Food Industry

In the 21st century it is a disgrace that we know how to visit the moon, and yet we are still powerless to prevent major epidemics of preventable disease such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and its complications (heart disease, stroke and kidney failure).

Obesity and type 2 diabetes are rapidly getting commoner.  WE MUST STOP THIS, and it has never been more urgent.

Our problems are self-inflicted

Until 10 000 years ago, when our ancestors invented agriculture, they could eat whatever they liked without getting fat—think what that means.  The wild animals they hunted (like the wildlife today) gave them lean meat.  When our ancestors domesticated cattle we became the only living things that are drinking milk in adult life and processing it to make cream and butter (artificially concentrated fat).  Even more recently (about 5000 years ago) they started adding salt to their food, giving us cheese and bacon.

About 300 years ago the Industrial Revolution made processed foods cheap and abundant, and they are so artificial that, for example, American pan-fried bacon today has 37 times more salt than fresh pork and 2½ times more salt than seawater.

 Food labels should warn everybody what they are buying.

Britain is testing better food labels

Britain has started putting traffic lights on food labels.  Processing usually changes the concentrations of fat, saturated fat, sugar and/or salt—the four nutrients that are known to be harmful when eaten in excess.  The UK traffic lights—at present voluntary—guide shoppers with a red, amber or green light against each of these.

But the food industry has refused point-blank to accept red lights. It has invented its own substitute label with—guess what?—no lights.  There is a big battle about this in Europe, and the politicians will have to sort it out.  For a summary of the arguments that will soon face the politicians in Australia, click this link.

For a recent update on the political dilemma click this link.


Page last modified on: Thursday 27 May, 2010

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