Freedhoff says Heart & Stroke Foundation should be ashamed of themselves

Ottawa’s Dr. Yoni Freedhoff wonders why the Heart and Stroke Foundation would endorse a product for your children that’s basically “sugar, water and marketing.” Yet parents are given the impression this is healthy for kids by the presence of the H&S Foundation Health Check label on the packaging. To get that much real fruit sugar, your kid would have to consume 1.14 pounds of strawberries says Freedhoff. The H&S Health Check symbol is supposed to tell consumers that “the food or menu item has been reviewed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s registered dietitians and can contribute to an overall healthy diet.” Oh, and companies pay to have the Health Check logo placed on their packaging. Hmmm.

Since re-posting Dr. Freedhoff’s video, we received this from Matt Salvatore of the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation:

Our first recommendation to Canadians is to eat fresh vegetables and fruit and cook from scratch. Currently, SunRype fruit products meet the program criteria because they contain no added sugar, are 100% fruit based, and provide a source of fibre. Nutrient criteria for Health Check are developed by HSF registered dietitians and nutrition experts based on recommendations in Canada’s Food Guide. Please take a look here for more information about Health Check criteria – http://www.healthcheck.org/page/program-critieria

The HSF is in the process of developing a comprehensive position on sugar. We will be soliciting national and international experts to provide us advice on the most recent international evidence in this area in order to develop an evidence-based position on intake, which currently does not exist in Canada.

The bottom line is that Health Check criteria is constantly evolving. As Canada’s only neutral, third-party, not-for-profit food information program, the program is helping move the dial and make positive changes to the food supply so Canadians will have better access to, and be able to identify, healthy food choices wherever they are. Companies play no role in developing or implementing the criteria. All revenues are reinvested in the program paying for nutritional research, and educating consumers on healthy eating. Please see the following video for more info regarding program fees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnljf7cXjeg

Please watch our Health Check FAQ videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/HSFHealthCheck) and explore the program’s website (www.healthcheck.org) for more information about healthy eating. I’ve also attached an infographic (HSF_13-421_infograph_WEB) on the program’s product evaluation process for more background.

Matt Salvatore, Manager, Communications, Health Check – Heart and Stroke Foundation

One response to “Freedhoff says Heart & Stroke Foundation should be ashamed of themselves

  1. Katie D. Somner

    They say they are not-for-profit. Do any administrators, clerical staff, etc. earn a living working for the Health Check program? Or do they work free (or at least a very small and reasonable wage)? If anyone in the organization is earning more than what a typical McDonald’s job pays, then I’d say the not-for-profit designation is a red herring: while they might not be earning a “profit”, administrators may very well be paying their own wages. Can anyone comment if the work is done strictly as volunteer work, or is someone in the organization maybe making $80k/year or more…?

    Also, considering the incredibly low levels of “nutrition” supported by the guideline, if I was a food company, I would be spending LOTS of money to ENCOURAGE the growth of a program like the “Health Check” program! I would lobby the government to help them out in every way, because then for a relatively small fee I could get the Health Check symbol on my unhealthy foods with too much sugar or salt and get away with saying it is approved by the Health Check organization! Moral of the story: sometimes big corporations can get together to create a “front”, a not-for-profit group that looks so innocent but provides a major return in assisting sales for big food conglomerates.

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