I recently answered some questions on a survey for the Canadian Government about Consumer Nutrition, Food Labelling, and what they can do to help.
The survey was poorly laid out for most consumers to actually answer; Questions were unclear and the survey was too long. It likely cost us a lot of money to put on though, no doubt.
I thought I would share some of my answers which reflect my opinions on consumer nutrition responsibility and food labelling requirements.
“I perform my own research to determine what macro and micronutrients are important to me, along with anti-nutrients. I look at ingredient labels to determine if there are science-experiment ingredients, flavourings, colourings, or sweeteners I want to avoid. Then I review the nutrition facts for the macronutrients.”
“I feel that it is the consumers’ responsibility to know what they want to consume and how it will affect our health, energy, and longevity. It is industry’s responsibility to label truthfully, exactly what the consumer wants to know (including GMO and “proprietary” ingredients). It is the role of government to ensure that industry complies.”
“Lobbying of government by food companies is a major problem. We need to focus more on small producers, encourage local-eating & farmer’s markets, and not allow the big companies nutrient-deficient food to remain a staple of Canadians’ diets.”
“I feel that the sources of flavourings, colourings, sweeteners, additives, and preservatives and their effects on health must be better explained to the average consumer. With proper education, people will naturally turn towards a healthy diet. ”
“I have seen low-carb Orange Juice. What is that? It’s regular OJ watered down then thickened up again with additives and thickening agents. This is much worse for your health than just reducing the amount of OJ that you drink. Same thing with reducing fat in many products, they just increase sugar, salt, and thickening agent additives. The consumer should be aware that this is not a healthy alternative.”
“To make an informed decision, I require labelling whether a GMO was used or not. GMO, Organic, low-sugar, all natural, MSG Free, Nitrate free, etc are all labels that can be problematic. I have seen bacon labelled nitrate/nitrite free, but contains celery extract. Yes a better alternative, but the consumer should be aware that this is still the sodium nitrate/nitrite ingredient. A low-sugar label should say “artificially sweetened” if that is indeed the case.”
“I look at the ingredients. All should be natural and I avoid artificial additives as a rule. Macronutrients are less important if you choose natural ingredients to begin with.”
“There are too many games on labels. Companies should not be allowed to hide behind trade secrets and micro-additives. There should be no ingredient that companies do not have to list on the label. There should be no minimum quantity of an ingredient – if even minute amounts are present in the food, then it has to be listed. All I am asking for is full disclosure. Let the quality products succeed in the market, not the ones with the best lobbyists or marketing twists.”
“Likely getting sensible ideas through the massive food industry lobby. If it sounds like something will favour small producers over big-agro, then they will squash it.”
“Tighten up the Organic Standard, mandate GMO disclosure, and prevent big-agra from marketing trash processed foods to children. Natural foods that don’t come in boxes should be promoted. TV commercials featuring pasta sauce recipes instead of Ragu/prego sugar sauce marketing. The general public sheeple are brainwashed by this marketing.”
What are your thoughts on government involvement in our nutritional choices, the food labelling laws here in Canada, or consumer nutrition responsibility in general?