Statement by Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, in response to Michael Moss’s book on obesity:
Obesity is a serious problem in the United States and globally, and Michael Moss’ work misrepresents the strong commitment America’s food and beverage companies have to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
The food industry’s track record on health and wellness speaks for itself:
- Since 2002, we have introduced more than 20,000 new product choices with fewer calories, reduced fat, sodium and sugar, and more whole grains.
- Through the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, we have pledged to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the food supply by 2015.
- Working through the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), we have voluntarily adopted strict advertising criteria so that 100 percent of CFBAI members’ ads seen on children’s programming now promote healthier diet choices and better-for-you products.
- We launched Facts Up Front, a landmark voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system designed to help busy consumers – especially parents – make informed decisions when they shop.
- Food and beverage companies contribute more than $130 million per year in grants to nutrition and health-related programs in hundreds of communities across the United States.
- GMA’s member companies are also committed to providing children with healthier meals in schools, supporting U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recently revised nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.
The root causes of obesity are well known. Too many calories consumed from any source, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, are the main risk factors for obesity. As such, public policy proposals to ban, tax or restrict consumer access to certain foods or beverages will not solve the obesity problem.
To achieve and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, consumers must learn to balance calories consumed through food and beverages with the appropriate amount of physical activity as recommended by the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including eating a variety of foods in moderation, combined with at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity.
GMA and its member companies strongly support First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation. If we are going to meet that goal, everyone – industry, government, parents, schools, communities and healthcare providers – must do their part.
The food and beverage industry is proud of its successful track record and the role we play in helping to combat obesity both in the United States and around the world, and we look forward to continuing our ongoing commitment to help consumers live healthy and active lifestyles.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.
Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders.
In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year. For more information visit GMAOnline.org.