I am speaking with Scott Barton about global food politics and corporate opportunism. “Attendance is open to all and the spirit, as always at Symposium events, will be as co-operative, lively and inclusive as possible.” Register here. This is at 2:00 p.m. East Coast time.
Oh those Canadians: heart-checking McDonald’s!
Thanks to Dr. Yoni Freedhoff for keeping me current on Canadian food politics. His latest post is about the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation’s new program to heart-check fast food meals. The Foundation hasn’t officially announced the program yet, although you can find it buried in an obscure questionnaire on its website. Pizza Hut also mentions its participation in the program on its website. [Update February 3: Pizza Hut has now announced its participation in the program]
The program is coming soon and here’s Dr. Freedhoff’s political cartoon of what it is likely to look like . No, this isn’t real. Dr. Freedhoff’s point is that it could be.
What, you might ask, are the criteria for the heart check? Let’s just try sodium: 720 mg per serving. Even the late and not lamented Smart Choices program did better than that (480 mg per serving).
You think Dr. Freedhoff is exaggerating and this is improbable? Alas, not so. In Australia a couple of years ago, I took this snapshot at a McDonald’s on the Adelaide beach.
The check marks come from the Heart-Tick program of the National Heart Foundation of Australia. So Canada is just now catching up. Canadian readers: can’t you do something about this? And American Heart Association: clean up your act too!
Addendum: Thanks to Lisa Sutherland for pointing out that what gets heart-checked in Canada is comparatively low in U.S. terms. She sends McDonald’s nutrition information as proof. Practically everything is higher in sodium than 720 mg. When it comes to sodium, everything is relative, I guess, but all of it is way high.