Those of you who have glanced at the Herald this morning may have seen the bold headline ‘Threat to truth in labelling of food’. The article explains how, for the past ten years, there has been a much-debated legislation proposal for the health claims on packaged food to be subjected to the scrutiny of food regulators before they can legally be sold. Currently, grocery store shelves are packed with hundreds of products such fruit juice which supposedly ‘boosts your natural immune defences’ or soy and linseed bread for ‘women’s health’. These claims are completely unregulated. The proposed legislation aims to change all that by ensuring that all claims are independently verified. However, the billion dollar grocery industry has other ideas and now looks set to completely overturn the proposal, or at least water it down to the point of impotency. There is now a pitched battle between the industry on one side and consumer and health campaigners on the other. The most likely outcome, says the Herald, is that the food marketers will end up with a ‘sell first, prove later’ situation. They will be able to make whatever claims they like and it will be the job of the government to prove them wrong within six months of the product hitting the shelves. With the vast array of new products appearing all the time, it will be next to impossible for any regulator to stay on top of them, effectively putting public health interest on the back foot and giving the marketeers an almost free rein.
Why is this relevant to Food Connect? Well, Food Connect is all about eating real food, directly from local farmers. We make food personal by connecting consumers to producers, nurturing community-based food groups and building a healthy food community. What we are doing is creating a radical, exciting and accessible alternative to mainstream food culture, with all its billions of marketing dollars, highly processed products and big political interests. We put food back into the hands of everyday people, whether you happen to be a family receiving one of our seasonal boxes or a farmer receiving the fairest prices in the industry.
Eat Real Food
Real food is seasonal chemical-free wholefood – fruit and veggies grown in healthy soil, free from artificial additives. An orange or a bunch of kale doesn’t need health claims stamped on it – it is what it is. Michael Pollan, in his list of ‘food rules’, suggests that we never trust any food that claims health benefits. This is because such foods are always processed, so that the supposed health is from fortification with some vitamin or mineral. Real food is unprocessed. It’s healthy by mere fact of being grown properly and not being pulled apart and reconstituted in a lab. Food Connect only deals with real food. We believe that eating healthily is easy and enjoyable and it’s our mission to make real food as accessible as possible. By buying real food from us you are opting out of the mainstream food system with its dodgy health claims and money-making interests.
By buying from Food Connect you are supporting a local food economy that is a real and viable alternative to mainstream food culture. Thanks to increasing consumer interest, the efforts of organisations like Food Connect, and of course the hard work of local producers, local sustainable food economies are currently experiencing rapid growth. By eating local food you are eating fresher, healthier food, which was harvested just a day or two before it hits your plate. You are eating food with a low carbon footprint, as it was not transported half way around the world to get to you. You are also supporting local farmers and a local food economy that provides real food to people across Sydney.
Eat Food Connect
We are the alternative to mainstream food. It looks like the billion-dollar interests will win in their battle against the proposed labeling legislation, but the power lies with the consumer – we can opt for something else entirely! At Food Connect we are passionate about building a sustainable, local, real food economy in Sydney so that people have accessible and affordable food choices. Together we can make over-packaged, over-processed, highly marketed food redundant.