“Fed Up,” an official selection of this year’s Sundance film festival, takes the US government to task for the rising incidence of obesity among American children. The filmmakers behind the documentary (whose producers include veteran newscaster Katie Couric) lays the blame on the greed of “Big Food,” and a federal government complicit in the industry’s mission to addict future generations on bad edibles.
Sean McBride, executive vice president of communications for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), has launched a counter attack against the film. McBride lashed out at the film’s premise, pointing out that the claims laid out in the documentary are misguided at best.
“Whether it is new packaging or new ways to prepare our products, or introducing low-sodium, low-fat, and organic foods, we are constantly working to provide the products that empower all consumers to make the choices that are right for them and their families,” he said.
The GMA is an advocacy group that speaks on behalf of more than 300 member companies manufacturing foods, beverages and other consumer goods. In addition to keeping members and the media apprised of crucial issues, the group promotes the spread of knowledge to help food firms generate products that are healthful as well as profitable.
“Our companies have been trusted by generations of families to provide products that are affordable, time-saving, nutritious and well-balanced,” McBride said. “This is a responsibility that we take seriously and will never forget.”
Commitment to health
McBride pointed out as evidence of the food industry’s commitment to increasing, rather than harming, public health the support of companies small and large have thrown behind various initiatives. Most recently, companies like Kraft Foods, General Mills, and Coca-Cola have tackled a challenge by the First Lady to cut 6.4 trillion calories from its commercial products.
“America’s food and beverage companies enthusiastically support First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation and recognize that the challenge of reducing obesity is one that requires everyone to do their part,” McBride said.
Further, McBride said, leaders in the food and beverage industry have a long record of working to deliver to consumers an increasing number of healthful food options, and the nutrition information necessary to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.