Industry Forced Changes to Canada Food Guide, Papers Show




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Industry Forced Changes to Food Guide, Papers Show

Published in The Toronto Star page A2 Friday, January 15, 1993.

From Southamstar Network

OTTAWA - The federal government put more meat and eggs in the revised Canada Food Guide and backed off on other recommendations after complaints from the food industry, documents show.

Health and Welfare Canada redrew its colorful rainbow chart to double the recommended servings of meat and eggs, alter recommendations on fat and drop suggested limits for sweets and coffee.

Prepared in a secretive manner similar to the federal budget, 4.5 million copies of the food guide were released in November after five years of consultation.

"It is important to understand that the food guide is based on nutrition and food science," a background booklet to the guide says.

But documents obtained under the Access to Information Act by researcher Ken Rubin outline the significant changes won by the food industry before the guide was published.

During 1991, the government sent several prototypes of the chart to so-called "stakeholders" for comment, and held workshops. Food producers were disturbed by what they saw.

"At the workshop, I got the impression the food guide is trying to accommodate a vegetarian eating pattern," complained Mary Ann Yaromich, nutrition manager of Canada Pork Inc.

The proposed guide cut the recommended minimum servings of meat from two a day to one. And it suggested meat alternatives, such as tofu, beans and legumes.

"I do not think (one) 50-gram serving is sufficient, even for pre-schoolers," wrote Patricia Scarlett, national nutrition co-ordinator of the Beef Information Centre.

"This (reduction) can be interpreted as a reinforcement of the myth that meat is not good for you - or give the impression of it being a "bad food."

The egg industry had similar criticisms.

"We find it unacceptable and strongly protest that the serving size of eggs be reduced from two eggs (100 grams) in the previous guide to one egg (50 grams) in the proposed revision," wrote Claire Cronier, nutritionist for the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada objected to a proposed reduction in milk servings for teenagers to three servings, from the previous three-to-four servings.

In each case, changes were made. The food guide now recommends two to three servings of meat or alternatives daily. It increased the egg servings size to allow two eggs. Teens are advised to drink up to four cups of milk.

Some health professionals have criticized the guide for its contents and how it was prepared.



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