March 17, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Last year, Michelle Obama proposed a requirement that food companies disclose “added sugar” to their products. Ever since, corporations have upped their lobbying efforts. Their arguments against labeling the number of teaspoons of added sugar in their products range from predictable dents in their profit margins to a feigned concern that Americans would be confused. They claim Americans could actually become more obese.
These impassioned responses from the food industry show how eager corporatists are to maintain the status quo.
The cranberry industry enlisted Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to oppose the requirement on the grounds that it could hurt profits:
“…forcing disclosure of the added sugar in cranberry products would be unfair because, unlike other fruits, cranberries are so bitter that they are unpalatable without it.”
(Perhaps the cranberry peddlers should have entered a different industry instead of whining that their product tastes bad.)
Campbell’s soup claimed that denoting added sugar could make Americans not just confused, but fatter, because
“…such information could confuse consumers by taking their focus off of calories.”
Further, the Dairy Institute of California claimed the proposed requirement would force them to reveal trade secrets. Surprisingly, the group did make one valid point. It said:
“Consumers already have the information they need to make healthy dietary choices.”
This is true. If consumers were to look at the ingredients in products they buy (and perhaps perform a simple Google search on them), they would know that high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and sodium nitrites, for example, are toxic. It is clear that health is not a priority of Americans, and in reality, labeling teaspoons of sugar added is unlikely to change that.
Regardless, the fierce opposition to disclosing “added sugars” highlights the severity of the problem: when the Working Environmental Group analyzed 80,000 products, it found that 58% had extra sugar added. Sugar is added to everything from deli meats to bread, milk, and salad dressing–with disturbing consequences: sugar causes diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and hypertension and is linked to acne, depression, schizophrenia, and impaired memory. Organizations opposed to labeling the excesses that cause these ailments include the Roman Meal Co. (which produces whole grain bread) and the American Nutrition Society, a group supported by companies like Coca Cola and Dannon.
Corruption and lobbying in the food industry are perhaps the most potent example of the conflict of interest involved at all levels of the system-and while the FDA may be playing the hero in this instance, it approves a vast majority of the filthy chemicals and ingredients found in the food supply.
Whether or not companies are forced to label “added sugar,” it is clear not only that the food industry is poisonous and unconcerned with the sickness it causes, but that Americans must be more active and informed in their consumption of such products.
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