Is Ontario Government Supporting Bad Food Choices
Almost everything we do in our daily life has some type of financial recourse to it. In other words many of our actions are either costing us money or making us money. When it comes to food which is a daily necessity it is one that costs us. With many people become much more frugal with their money they have begun to pay much closer attention to what they are buying. They want quality and more for their money. Even when taking a break from cooking and buying off a fast food menu this new way of thinking is applied.
Becoming more health conscious has become something more people in general are paying attention to. The thoughts are that prevention is better than the cure. So when it comes to buying foods no matter whether they are fast foods or not much of the public wants to know what it contains.
This is something that some in Government like the NDP Health Critic , France Genlinas has been trying to address for several years, by introducing private member’s bills on menu labelling, but has gone nowhere. To show that attempts were being made to look into this issue the Ministry of Health did hire FleishmanHilliard to conduct public consultations and prepare a report concerning fast food labeling. While this may on the surface appear like a great move on the Government’s part the problem is that FleishmanHilliard is be accredited as a well known lobbyist for the fast food industry. So it is felt that perhaps there was a conflict of interest here.
The end result was that legislation came into being for this industry having to produce calorie counts on their menus but not for sodium levels.
The big question here is why in the world would the Ministry of Health hire consultants that they were well aware of that there could be a conflict of interest? The taxpayer’s money ends up paying tons for consulting services in many different sectors every year, yet the Government on many occasions never seems to do its homework when choosing those entities to do the consultations.
Now the Government did respond by saying that this company was a vendor of record and was subjected to an intense selection process and was also required to sign a conflict of interest statement. In case you are wondering the cost to the government for this was a $80,000. contract.
What really caused the Government to take these steps for obtaining a report was the pressure to deal with childhood obesity. Apparently the legislation allows for additions in the future. The way it stands right now is any business that has 20+ restaurant locations in Ontario must show calorie counts on menus.
So now that we know the Government’s involvement and how the critics feel, the important question is how do we as the public feel about the issue whether sodium levels should be posted on foods. Another question is how many of the public were actually involved in the consultation process and when and by what means? After all this was a $80,000. project that produced a 16 page report.