“Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us,” a new book by New York Times reporter Michael Moss, is being released today—and to some criticism.
Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey released the following statement:
“Obesity is a serious problem in the United States and globally, and Michael Moss’ work misrepresents the strong commitment America’s food and beverage companies have to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
“The food industry’s track record on health and well being speaks for itself:
• Since 2002, we have introduced more than 20,000 new product choices with fewer calories, reduced fat, sodium and sugar, and more whole grains.
• Through the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, we have pledged to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the food supply by 2015.
• Working through the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), we have voluntarily adopted strict advertising criteria so that 100 percent of CFBAI members’ ads seen on children’s programming now promote healthier diet choices and better-for-you products.
• We launched Facts Up Front, a landmark voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system designed to help busy consumers—especially parents—make informed decisions when they shop.
• Food and beverage companies contribute more than $130 million per year in grants to nutrition and health-related programs in hundreds of communities across the United States.
• GMA’s member companies are also committed to providing children with healthier meals in schools, supporting U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recently revised nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.
• Full-calorie soft drinks have been removed from schools and total calories available from beverages in schools have been cut by 90 percent.
“The root causes of obesity are well known. Too many calories consumed from any source, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, are the main risk factors for obesity. As such, public policy proposals to ban, tax or restrict consumer access to certain foods or beverages will not solve the obesity problem.
“To achieve and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, consumers must learn to balance calories consumed through food and beverages with the appropriate amount of physical activity as recommended by the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including eating a variety of foods in moderation, combined with at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity (www.choosemyplate.gov).
“GMA and its member companies strongly support First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation. If we are going to meet that goal, everyone—industry, government, parents, schools, communities and healthcare providers—must do their part.
“The food and beverage industry is proud of its successful track record and the role we play in helping to combat obesity both in the United States and around the world, and we look forward to continuing our ongoing commitment to help consumers live healthy and active lifestyles.”
A book description for “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” that appears on Amazon.com reads, in part, “…the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back.”