Ottawa disbands salt task force, industry licks lips in anticipation
For years, it’s been evident that Canadians are consuming too much salt. In response to public pressure, and growing unease over the fact that one can get the required daily dose of salt from a couple cans of pop, the federal government put together a task force in 2007 to recommend ways to reduce Canadians’ sodium intake. After four years of work, Stephen Harper is disbanding the sodium task force and handing the work off to an industry-friendly body. Because self-regulation in food has always worked like a charm. According to the Globe and Mail:
The group released a report last summer that called for a voluntary program to reduce sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams a person by 2016. The goal hinges on the ability of the food industry to lower the amount of sodium in its products. The working group had planned to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the voluntary program by 2016, and, if necessary, call on the government to create binding regulations.
But Dr. Kevin Willis said he and others in the working group were told during a conference call in December their responsibilities would be handed to a group called the Food Regulatory Advisory Committee.
This news comes only weeks after several provinces (the ones that represent two thirds of Canada’s population) requested that Ottawa get serious about defining “healthy food” in an objective way. Ottawa, apparently, is uninterested doing the job itself and prefers to hand the work off to people closely tied to the food industry, according to the Globe’s reporting.
Anyone hoping that Stephen Harper—who’s taken a healthier turn himself in the last few years—was going to pull a Michelle Obama and get the state in the business of giving people healthier food choices is out of luck. We’re not calling for Canada to pull a New York or anything, but it might be a good idea to have salt content in food decided by someone other than the people who make money selling us salty foods. Just a thought.