Food Labeling

Sometimes things shock me, that shouldn’t really shock me at all. One of them is the limited response to the Allergic Living “write-in“, a citizen’s opportunity to let the government know that accurate and thorough food labeling is important to Canadians.  My interest in and knowledge about food labels developed in response to my condition of anaphylaxis.  When I last checked this morning, only 1,545 individuals felt the issue important enough to let their voice be heard. Thanks to anyone out there who has already participated.

Where are the rest of my fellow Canadians, the other 33,738,355 Canadians, to be exact? Where is the media coverage that would bring this serious issue to the attention of Canadians? Why exactly is this issue not receiving the public recognition it merits? Whose interests are being served?

I can think of several examples where people have assumed that food or beverage were safe. They were wrong and people died. The Franklin Expedition, for example, assumed that the canned goods they ate were safe, and never knew that they had been poisoned by lead, which affected their cognitive functioning and compromised their ability to survive the other hardships they faced. Another, more recent, example is the Walkerton Tragedy, Walkerton is a community that assumed that government regulations ensured a safe water supply. They were wrong. And then there is tobacco, more Canadian labeling under fire.

It was interesting that at the time of the Walkerton Tragedy, when it first hit the news, I spoke out and voiced my concerns on a public forum. I was openly ridiculed for voicing concerns that were eventually addressed by the Walkerton Commission.

I find public complacence about food, beverage and substance safety issues shocking.

The sad thing is that I have no rational reason to find this complacence shocking.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

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Humidity: 94 %
Wind: SE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -18

Quote

“People need to be shocked out of their complacency about tobacco”
David Byrne

Notes

The Franklin Expedition
Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin KCH FRGS RN (16 April 1786 – 11 June 1847) was a British Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer who mapped almost two thirds of the northern coastline of North America. Franklin also served as governor of Tasmania for several years. In his last expedition, he disappeared while attempting to chart and navigate a section of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. The entire crew perished from starvation, hypothermia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning, scurvy and exposure before and after Franklin died and the expedition’s icebound ships were abandoned in desperation.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Franklin

The Walkerton Tragedy
“The Walkerton Tragedy is a series of events that accompanied the contamination of the water supply of Walkerton, Ontario, Canada, by E. coli bacteria in May 2000.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkerton_Tragedy

Tobacco Lobby
“Canada became the first country to implement health warnings on cigarette packages when they initiated the use of warnings starting December 2000. Cigarette packages are required to have a health warning cover 50% of the front and 50% of the back of the package (one side in English and the other side in French, the two official Canadian languages). Overall, 50% of the package space is appropriated to health warnings. In addition to health warnings on the outside of packages, 1 of 16 rotated messages are required to appear on the inside of each cigarette package, either on the slide or on an insert. A set of 16 health warnings are rotated on packages.
Canada also prohibits the terms “light” and “mild” from appearing on packages
As well, Canada requires tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and benzene emission numbers to appear on the side of packages. Two numbers appear from each emission: one from the ISO and one from the Health Canada machine smoking method.”
Source: http://www.tobaccolabels.ca/currentl/canada

“Health Canada’s abrupt decision in September to back down from expanding warning labels on cigarette packages came after tobacco company lobbyists waged a co-ordinated, sometimes secretive lobbying campaign, CBC News has learned… But in September, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said plans to update warnings on cigarette packages had been halted, and the government’s new focus would be on fighting the sale of contraband cigarettes.”
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/12/08/tobacco-conservatives-lobbying008.html#ixzz1C3IGgtxy

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2 Responses to Food Labeling

  1. Maggie says:

    Just as I posted this entry the count for the “write in” began to rise. Synchronicity!

  2. Sil in Corea says:

    I hope the signers are encouraging their friends and relatives to sign. That’s the oldest and most reliable way to spread the word, but it takes time to build to “critical mass.” 😉