As part of the Healthy Eating Strategy, Health Canada is proposing to restrict the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children. Two approaches are being considered:
- Option 1: banning advertising food to children if it exceeds 5 percent of the daily value of saturated fat, sugars or sodium; or
- Option 2: banning advertising food to children if it exceeds 15 percent of the daily value of saturated fat, sugars, or sodium.
Under option 1, companies couldn’t advertise sugar-sweetened yogurt, cheese (even if calorie-reduced), or ice cream (among other foods) to children under the age of 17.
Under option 2, companies couldn’t advertise sugar-sweetened yogurt, most cheese, or ice cream to children under the age of 17. However, they would be allowed to advertise calorie-reduced cheese to children.
Tell the government to go with option 1! The dairy industry has successfully duped children and families into believing that cheese, chocolate milk, and sugary yogurt are a healthy and essential part of the human diet. By disguising their marketing as education, Canadian dairy lobbyists have even snuck their commercial interests into schools. In fact, these saturated fat-laden foods compromise health and can contribute to a lifetime of preventable illnesses like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The dairy industry is also heartbreaking for animals. Mother cows endure back-to-back pregnancies, having each of their babies taken away at birth so humans can take the milk instead. The babies are isolated and killed for veal or used as dairy cows themselves. The mothers are genetically selected to produce unnatural quantities of milk, and often suffer from painful infections (mastitis). When their bodies weaken from the demands of constant pregnancies and lactation at only about a quarter of their natural lifespan, the mother cows are killed for hamburger meat.
Currently in Canada, there are no federally regulated restrictions on the marketing of food to children. But building on a strong body of evidence, in 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) Member States, including Canada, released a set of recommendations calling for policies that reduce the impact of marketing to children of foods high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.
The Healthy Eating Consultations are open until August 14, 2017.