The Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems (Weight Coalition) is very pleased to hear that Health Canada is abandoning its food fortification project.
The project would have allowed the junk food industry to enrich its products with vitamins and minerals. However, it is important to remain vigilant, as Canada's food fortification policy is soon to be reviewed.
Remember that, since 2005, the food industry has been demanding the right to add vitamins and minerals to certain foods. "No sanitary crisis warrants such massive fortifying of foods," says Suzie Pellerin, Director of the Weight Coalition. "This project was catered to fast-food marketing rather than the health and well-being of Canadians."
"Today we are excited and pleased, but we know we can't let our guard down. It is clear that the idea has not been completely abandoned. We expect to see certain elements of this project repackaged and presented again in the coming months," adds Ms. Pellerin.
In a letter sent this past June to the Minister of Health, the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, the Coalition expressed its concerns surrounding the potential negative health effects of food fortification proposed in the policy. "We are worried that this policy will, among other things, glorify food products of minimal nutritional value, as is currently the case in the United States," the Coalition's Director states.
In addition to creating confusion around the nutritional benefits of certain foods, the policy could have encouraged bad eating habits by associating junk food with vitamins and minerals. This would have discouraged people from eating foods that were actually nutritious and healthy. "Chips, marshmallows and chocolate bars enriched with vitamins, fiber & calcium - it fools the population into thinking junk food is good for them," concludes the Director of the Weight Coalition.
About the Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems
Created in 2006 and sponsored by the Association pour la sante publique du Quebec since 2008, the Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems is working toward the adoption of specific public policies with regard to weight related issues. It acts within three strategic areas (agri-food industry, sociocultural and built environment) to foster the development of environments that help in making healthy choices and preventing weight related issues. Fore more details: www.cqpp.qc.ca
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