There is a Center for Science and the Public Interest (CSPI). Doctor Peter Laurie is the Director of CSPI and he sends good news about food and health for 2019. Some victories for healthier foods have already been started and will continue.
The new year is going to bring the fight for safer and healthier foods. We have a right to know what is in the food we eat, so challenging deceptive marketing and pressuring the government agencies to do their jobs are only a few battles.
In May 2018 calorie counts became mandatory on menus and menu boards and for food display in chain restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, and movie theaters.
In addition to seeing calories on the menus, sodium, saturated fat, sugar, and other nutrients are available. You deserve to know what you’re getting when you order, and because of CSPI’s 15-year-long campaign, now you will.
Goodbye artificial trans-fat! June 2018 was the deadline for the food industry to stop producing food that contains heart-disease-promoting, factory-made fat. Trans fat was once frequently found in restaurant deep fryers and in packaged foods like microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, biscuits, pastries, margarines, shortening, and thousands of other products. Ridding our food supply of trans fat will save tens of thousands of lives each year.
The updated nutrition facts label is hitting grocery shelves. The FDA may have delayed implementation by 18 months, but consumers want the label with the new line for added sugars, bolder presentation of calories, and more realistic serving sizes. Eighty-seven percent of Americans say the label updates are useful to them. Thousands of products already feature the new label, with more appearing every day.
Deadly bulk caffeine products are made illegal. The FDA declared that highly concentrated bulk caffeine products – powders and liquids – are illegal and too dangerous to be sold.
You need to stop the salt assault. Nearly nine out of ten adults consume too much sodium daily, contributing to high blood pressure and stroke as well as heart disease. About three-quarters of the sodium Americans’ diets comes from restaurant and packaged foods, which is why CSPI has campaigned so relentlessly for labeling.
CSPI first petitioned the FDA in 1978 to revoke the status of salt as Generally Recognized as Safe, set limits on its usage, and require sodium labeling of processed foods. But we still have a long way to go in brining sodium down to healthy levels. CSPI supports requiring warning labels that sound the alarm on high-sodium menu items, like the New York City requirement that has now been in place for almost two years. Philadelphia enacted a measure requiring a warning icon and statement to any menu item that contains an entire day’s worth of salt in a single serving.
At IHOP you can consume two days’ worth of sodium if you order the IHOP Cheeseburger Omelette with a side of three buttermilk pancakes. Sodium is in more items than you think, so updated labels can really help making people more aware of what they are eating.
Limiting liquid candy Sugar drinks – sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened juice drinks (punch and lemonade), teas and coffees – are the number one source of calories in American’s diets and contribute half or our added sugars intake. It’s no surprise that obesity and type 2 diabetes are rampant among children and adults in this country.
Sugar drinks are everywhere – in vending machines, at hardware stores, at drug stores and hospitals, in bottomless cups at restaurants, and even on kids’ menus. CSPI is working to get soda out of schools, and is now improving access to healthier beverages at hospitals, parks, public agencies, and other public places.
By taking sugar drinks off kids’ menus, the restaurants would be making it easier for parents to help their children be more nutritious. The typical American consumes 22 to 28 teaspoons of added sugar per day. The average 20-ounce soda contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar – which is 130 percent of the recommended daily added sugars limit. Safety warnings have been implemented to show the damage of sugar, have you seen them yet?
More than 60 percent of American’s calories come from supermarkets. Candy, soda, and junk food dominate store entrances, shelves and the ends of aisles, and checkout aisles, increasing their visibility as well as making it easier and cheaper to buy junk foods.
Changing up the food options that stock these specific shelves could make a huge impact on dietary choices shoppers make. Being aware of what is in the food you eat is also important, so reading every label can really help in making the right food choices. So, take the efforts for CSPI from 2018 and carry them over to make for a healthy and Happy New Year in 2019!