Former food industry executive Michael Mudd has some interesting ideas on how to force ethics (and real change) onto the food industry in this past weekend’s Sunday New York Times. Here is a key excerpt from the Op Ed:
The industry is guilty because it knew what the consequences of its actions might be. Large food processors employed a flock of Ph.D. nutritionists and food scientists. The connection between calorie consumption and weight gain was always as plain as the number on the bathroom scale. But instead of acknowledging this and taking corrective action to sell a better product more responsibly, food processors played innocent by blending in with the crowd of causes. It’s time to end the charade and mandate the needed changes that the industry has refused to make.
The following are his main prescriptions to start forcing change on the industry:
Levy federal and state excise taxes on sugared beverages and a few categories — snack foods, candy, sweet baked goods — that most undermine health. These taxes could help pay for education programs, subsidize the healthiest foods for low-income individuals and, maybe, discourage consumption.
Make mandatory the federal guidelines for marketing food to children that were proposed in 2011. These guidelines — written jointly by the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Agriculture — were only to be voluntary, and still lobbyists for the food industry persuaded Congress to block them.
Is he right or wrong? What other things can be done within the food industry and our culture itself to begin facilitating big changes for the better on this front? Before you judge for yourself and weigh in here, go read the Op Ed.