Prescheduled for release on 2 January 2016
If you ever wondered why NZ has the highest rate of obesity in the OECD take a look at the above ‘propaganda’ video and the associated counter arguments
Interestingly, Nikki Hart’s Video was released by the NZ Food and Grocery Council (FGC) backed-up with a press release on 15 December. The video is one of a series of four commissioned by the FGC
FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich says the videos are intended to offer positive and achievable solutions at a time when people are confused by often contradictory information…
The next video in the series will be launched early next year, and other topics include snacks and treats, smart shopping for healthier foods, and eating to live healthier for longer.
In March the FGC’s Health and Technical working Group hosted a breakfast panel session on food advertising to children. (somewhat ironic considering so many children go without breakfast in New Zealand) timed to coincide with the proposed Advertising Standards Authority voluntary Code of Practice on the same issue.
Readers may remember that Ms Rich and the FGC earned a mention in Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics” book.
Former National MP Katherine Rich’s emails showed that information was passed from her to PR specialist Carrick Graham (whose clients included tobacco and alcohol companies) and was conveyed to ‘attack blogger’ Cameron Slater who then used it to lambast health campaigners. Rich also gained notoriety after claiming all food additives used in New Zealand were safe, while some ingredients (e.g. artificial colours used in processed foods and soft drinks) had been banned in other countries.
Food colours are ‘fun’ says Ms Rich
Among other things, Katherine Rich thinks colours are ‘fun’ and may be used
‘just to add a bit of fun and visual appeal in some products. Wouldn’t life be dull without colour? Take jelly as an example. For many children, a childhood memory is being served a plate of wonderfully vibrant and fun jelly. The experience wouldn’t be the same if it was a colourless, translucent blob of gel on a plate. Childhood memories are built on such things… source
All well and good but shouldn’t natural colours be used? New Zealand food is supposed to be 100% pure. isn’t it? At the very least, it should be ‘world class’.
NZ processing aids left off the label
Did you know that under the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code a “long list of ingredients defined as processing aids” don’t have to appear on the label?
Take the example of cut fruit fresh salads … with a three week shelf life. The processing aids used to extend shelf life don’t have to be declared on the label in New Zealand as they’re in the “lowest levels” in the final product and aren’t considered to be addtitives, although they may have to be declared as additives in the UK…
“For that reason, it’s likely that the cut-fruit example wouldn’t be an aid in New Zealand, although it could well be the case in the UK,” says Katherine Rich, head of the NZ Food & Grocery Council. “Here it would be an additive and labelled if the spray remained on any of the packaged fruit as part of the final consumed product.”
Rich adds that our food code has just gone through a major revision and is up to date, and more importantly is evidence- and science-based. “Our food safety system is recognised as being one of the best in the world,” she promises. source
That last statement is enough to sound alarm bells in the mind of any healthy sceptic who knows NZ’s penchant for the ‘world class’ propaganda statement.
Yet on the face of it we seem to be lagging behind. For instance, on our food labels you’ll still find artificial colourings such as Sunset Yellow, carmoisine and tartrazine that are among those known in the UK as the Southampton Six and have been voluntarily phased out by the industry amid concerns there was a link between consumption and increased hyperactivity in children…
the European Food Safety Authority introduced a compulsory warning on foods and drinks containing the six artificial colours; as a result major manufacturers, including Heinz, along with fast-food chains McDonald’s and Pizza Hut and a number of food retailers have chosen to stop using them.
Meanwhile, Food Standards Australia New Zealand maintains these colours are safe and says the Southampton research doesn’t stack up…source
Poacher and game keeper
The National government appointed Rich to the board of the Health Promotion Agency, where her primary role should have been to promote public health. This was considered by many to be a conflict of interest, given her lead role at the FGC.
Post publication of the “Dirty Politics” book, a group of 33 scientists and health practitioners wrote to Prime Minister Key asking him to investigate the possible conflict of interest. The result was all too predictable…
Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said Rich should resign, arguing that “Katherine Rich, Carrick Graham and Cameron Slater have all been involved in a systematic undermining of health promotion in New Zealand. She cannot tenably remain on the board of that organisation.” Rich responded by saying she had never been involved in undermining public health and found the claim very offensive. She said she put her heart and soul into the Health Promotion Agency and adhered to all parts of the Crown Entities Act.
Nevertheless, the Auditor-General was asked to investigate and conducted a review of the HPA’s board minutes. It declared “we have not identified any particular matters before, or decisions by, the HPA board that might raise serious concerns about its management of conflicts of interest”. However, the Auditor-General acknowledged they did not interview Ms Rich, nor did they investigate “allegations in Nicky Hager’s 2014 book Dirty Politics about things Mrs Rich is said to have done in her private capacity”. Rich said she felt vindicated by the finding, but the Green Party called for an additional investigation by the State Services Commission. source
Seen any other examples of government promoted propaganda? Let us know.