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GMA’s Bailey Responds to Obesity Writer

WASHINGTON — Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, responded to an author of an obesity book and article by saying that his work “misrepresents” the efforts of CPG manufacturers. 

“Obesity is a serious problem in the United States and globally, and Michael Moss’s 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,” Bailey said.

In an article in the Feb. 24 issue of the New York Times Magazine entitled “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food,” Moss reported that in over four years of research and reporting, he found “a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.”

Bailey countered that “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.”

Among the food industry’s health initiatives she cited were the following:  

-- The more than 20,000 new product choices with fewer calories, reduced fat, sodium and sugar, and more whole grains that have been introduced since 2002.                

-- The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation’s pledge to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the food supply by 2015.

-- The voluntarily adoption of strict advertising criteria through the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), so that 100% of CFBAI members’ ads seen on children’s programming now promote healthier diet choices and better-for-you products.  

-- Facts Up Front, a voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system designed to help consumers make informed decisions when they shop.

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