If you didn’t know there was a National Food Day then you’re like me. The idea and the day itself passed me by. But now since coming across the idea, I must admit that I think it’s great.
National Food Day is the brainchild of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). I didn’t know there was one of those either. But since the 1970s the center has been working hard to educate and inform us of what we are eating and what we should be. Sadly, the two are very different.
Here’s what CSPI has achieved
CSPI is out there working for better diets and food consumption. In 2017 the centre sued Coca-Cola in an audacious move to get sugary drinks out of schools and children’s diet. Suing a behemoth was the culmination rather than the start of things. They started with a push for accurate labelling. If you have noticed food restaurants displaying the calories in their foods it is a result of pressure from CSPI.
The CSPI plays with the big boys. In 2016 Mars announced the removal of dyes from M&Ms after CSPI’s campaign. In 2014 they convened a national soda summit, and the noise they have made has something to do with Pennsylvania adding the beverage tax in 2018.
It turns out it’s not CSPI that is unknown. It turns out I am the ignorant one.
What Does the Center Do?
The centre is public about their goals. First, they look to disseminate objective, fact-based information to the public at large as well as to legislators. They also have research facilities to study almost any issue related to technology and science including health and the environment.
Second, as a consumer advocacy group, the CSPI stands up for the public good in court as well as advising legislators and regulatory bodies on public policy issues related to their focus area.
Examples of the group’s activities include: Court action against Coca-Cola regarding the health impacts of sugary soda, leading efforts to persuade the FDA to take action on industry compliance with publishing calorie counts on menus, and an investigation that revealed false marketing by eight supplement companies touting their products as effective at assisting with opioid withdrawal.
National Food Day
Another brainchild of the CSPI, the goal of this day is to get us to eat better. The idea is that we focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and sustainably raised protein rather than sugary drinks and processed food if only for a single day!
Unfortunately, it seems that National Food Day is lost among a host of other National Something Days which have rather relegated the day to something less serious. When the centre kicked off the idea in 2011 it was with the support of past White House residents as well as other local bodies who created more than 2300 events including the mayor of NYC handing out apples to commuters.
Support from the White House is a thing of the past, but it doesn’t negate the message. Hopefully, CSPI will be able to put its considerable muscle into expanding National Food Day and it will get the recognition it deserves.