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“Mommy, I’m glad we’re rich” said my 5 year old son

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Really Bobby? How do you know we’re rich?
“Because we have everything we need and don’t need”

Obviously we weren’t really rich, but in my son’s world with limited perspective, everything was going really well.

Rich means more than money. Our family was fortunate to have above average intelligence, education, employment, health and resources. Still, in the hectic days of raising a family, I wasn’t always able to put in the time and effort to read labels carefully and decipher the ingredients appropriately when grocery shopping. I tried, but as my son was also fond of saying “time always beats me.”

I was thinking about this after a few blog comments raised the question of individual responsibility.

Specifically, if corporations use their money, resources and power to obfuscate what exactly is in our food, and target their advertising accordingly, how much responsibility does an individual have to do their own research. What are their chances of success?

Not everyone has the time, energy, education, intelligence, to make sense of it all.
I think of the people with fewer resources than I have and hesitate to stigmatize them for not doing the proper research.

Now I’m retired and have more time. Yet, upon looking for a protein powder for a recent SP recipe, reading labels and cross referencing on the Internet, I still had to turn to the SP message boards for assistance when I wanted to avoid “sugar alcohols.” There’s a lot of ways to disguise this stuff.

At one time I believed that American capitalism, profit based though it was, had the essential welfare of the people at heart. Perhaps I was naïve.

I want to hold the corporations to a higher standard than they currently have.
I want them to stop misleading advertising, prominently displayed, (all natural, contains real fruit, source of whole grains) while the truth is in the fine print. I want them to stop renaming ingredients. I want them to stop adding new ingredients which have not been proved safe and/or side effects identified. I don’t want to hope that some outside organization or agency will discover it before damage is done. I want the entity making the profit to do the legwork honestly beforehand simply because it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve quoted TravelGrrl before. She said:
“Yes, I know that what goes in my mouth is my own decision. All I want is a level playing field. I want the food industry to stop the marketing that preys on ignorant, poor people AND on children. I want SOMEBODY to step up to the plate and take some responsibility for what passes for food in this country.”
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