Reported in the Washington Times:
Wal-Mart to make, sell healthier foods
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest grocer, says it will reformulate thousands of products to make them healthier and push its suppliers to do the same, joining first lady Michelle Obama’s effort to combat childhood obesity.
The first lady accompanied Wal-Mart executives Thursday as they announced the effort in Washington. The company plans to reduce sodium and added sugars in some items, build stores in poor areas that don’t already have grocery stores, reduce prices on produce and develop a logo for healthier items.
“No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division.
As the largest grocer in the United States, Wal-Mart’s size gives it unique power to shape what people eat. The grocery business is nearly twice the size of No. 2 competitor Kroger. The company also has massive influence on products made by other manufacturers and sold at the store.
Mrs. Obama said the announcement has “the potential to transform the marketplace and help Americans put healthier foods on their tables every single day.”
This looks on it’s face to be a very good story, right? Major retailer to make healthier foods and to sell them cheaper. But who do you want to decide what you eat, what is “healthy” and how much it costs? In my opinion aspartame is a very dangerous food additive, yet it has been approved by the FDA. It is even being renamed so that you won’t recognize it when it is added to foods in the future…. watch out for “aminosweet”. I was once a participant in a clinical study for a proposed food additive called Olean, brand name Olestra. Two thirds of the participants in my group of about 200 people experienced some adverse reactions to the additive. Yet the FDA approved the additive as safe for human consumption. It was added to hundreds of products and touted as a boon to humanity. “The product became infamous for it’s side effects” and consumers roundly rejected it.
My point is that in America we have liberty and we have good sense. We do not want the government or any paragovernmental entity (the first lady) to tell us what to eat, or to exert pressure upon retailers, manufacturers or producers to determine not only what we will eat, but what will be available for us to buy. No one has the right to force me to eat what I don’t like or what I feel is dangerous or unhealthy.
When Ms. Obama decides that sugar is unhealthy and the manufacturer replaces sugar with aspartame, I am being forced to consume a dangerous brain affecting chemical (which gives me and many others instantaneous migraines) without my consent without a choice to drink something else. Why can’t Ms. Obama be an adult and let us be adults, she can make her choices and I make mine?
Unless she intends to remove sugar, Crisco, flour, cheese, pasta, etc. from the grocery completely we can make our own high fat high sugar foods right in our home. In my experience processed foods have far more salt and high fructose corn syrup that home made. Why is she not advocating for fresh home made food rather than pressuring manufacturers? Why? Because Ms Obama doesn’t want mothers to be stay at home caretakers who make roast beef and vegetables that they grew in their backyard garden, she merely wants control. What is the next step? Will one lose their access to healthcare based upon their food choices?
Having lived in “the hood” for nearly 30 years I can assure you that any efforts to get poor people to eat fresh vegetables and healthy food will result in very little progress. The tastes of the poor in America run towards boxed Mac and Cheese (only Kraft, please) with Hamburger Helper and jello servings on the side. All those dried beans, rice and whole wheat flour items in the food pantry bags are either given away or thrown out. No nice pressers featuring Ms. Obama and the Walmart CEO will change that.
h/t: the Walmart Cashier who didn’t think this was “quite right”