In general, there is probably not much that public health professionals and the food industry can agree on when it comes to Canada's forthcoming new food guide.
In short, public health would like to see the driver discourage the consumption of sugary beverages, over-processed foods, processed meat, trans fats and an exchange is recommended so that people are encouraged to replace their saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Public health would also like to see the driver discourage the frequent use of restaurants, encourage cooking and promote the consumption of these cooked meals, ideally with their loved ones, on a regular basis. There are more, but this is the key ingredient.
The food industry would like to see the driver avoid the discouragement of any particular food, he would like to see dairy products retain the distinct category of separate foods while not warning about chocolate milk, saturated fat exchanges, and they wanted a soft and ambiguous language around processed foods and others.
But there is one area where public health and the food industry agree wholeheartedly – both agree that the driver is of great importance and has a real impact on the Canadian food.
No, the Canadians do not buy with the Wizard in hand, but the industry relies on the Guide's marketing and sales messages. For example, if the Guide has effectively eliminated the dairy category and has properly integrated dairy products with other sources of protein, the dairy industry can no longer suggest to children (even kindergartens), parents, teachers and others that we need a a specific number of dairy products per day. This, in turn, along with the removal of chocolate milk as the equivalent of a dairy product, will, over time, affect school milk programs and will certainly affect "dairy trainers"that schools will get in touch with students and will rule out the dairy industry's ability to buy oblique surveys designed to provide a veneer product for their health, launch applications to ensure that you have enough and when writing articles dairy products in the media, there will no longer be a rejection line that is included for how many portions the Guide recommends daily.
And all of this will undoubtedly affect sales of dairy products.
What, of course, is the reason why the dairy industry has launched a campaign for many years to prevent changes in the dairy driver's recommendations. They have sent letters to health Canada and ministers, have sowed the media with interviews and concerns and have even created a front group of astroturf called "Keep Canadians Healthy" that prompted Facebook ads to the public, encouraging them to be anxious and upset on plans to downgrade dairy products and by providing the public with a call for action and filling in the blank form for sending their Members (scroll down through the link me to see).
So, the next time you hear someone non-existent (or revealing) suggesting that the Guide does not matter (as the Canadian Taxation Federation did to CBC at The National two days ago, for example), remember that the only place where public health and the food industry fully agree with the driver is the fact that it is very important to what the Canadians buy and, consequently, to what the Canadians eat.