Good food reads 05/15/2019

4 in 10 Canadian cancer cases could be prevented by not smoking, keeping active, making other choices
A new, first-of-its-kind study by the Canadian Cancer Society finds that about four in 10 cancer cases could be prevented by not smoking, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, having a nutritious diet and practising sun safety — the top five actions to decrease burden of the disease. From the study: "This is the first time in Canada that we have such a comprehensive study, where we can actually quantify exactly how that burden could be decreased at a national level." 

Don't talk about 'food poverty' – it's just poverty
In the Guardian, restaurant critic and feature writer Jay Raynor talks argues that we need to get rid of food poverty and stop treating a lack of access to good food as a discrete disease. He says, quite rightly, that we need to start talking simply about poverty. From the piece: “Food poverty creates the idea that there’s just one thing that needs fixing.” Give people an emergency food package, and they can eat. When of course it doesn’t deal with the underlying problems of social exclusion and low wages. What’s more, the conversation around food poverty is a block to us fixing our broken food supply chain. 

Food, a “sort of right”
In his remarks to The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security’s 2nd Annual Food Security Symposium, Paul M. Taylor, Executive Director of FoodShare, argues that while Canadians have a right to food insofar as Canada is a signatory to the UN Declaration on Human Rights, which includes the right to food, our governments have failed to uphold this right and make sure everyone can feed themselves, their families and their communities. From the piece: "In Canada, just under 4 million people are food insecure. This is a crisis. In a country as wealthy as Canada, a place that is celebrated for its quality of life, how can we have more people that are food insecure than the populations of Mississauga and Toronto combined?...How could this be the case in a country that ratified the right to food?"

11th-hour lobbying by industry could kill law banning food marketing to kids
Kelly Crowe from CBC got hold of a confidential letter from an industry group that asks senators to “withhold your concurrence” on Bill S-228, a law that would protect kids from being targeted with ads for food high in sugar, salt, and fat. The bill still awaits a final vote despite a 2017 unanimous vote of support in the Senate, six committee hearings and overwhelming vote of support in the the House of Commons. From the piece: "If it hasn't passed, an election will be called and it will die on the order paper. It's just so sad." 

The Lancet Commission on Global Health Law: How Law Can Advance The Right To Health
A new report from the Lancet Commission on Global Health Law looks at how public health law can fulfil the pledge of a global right to health and why the law’s potential remains far from realized. From the piece: Laws can ban trans-fat or excess saturated fat, salt, and sugar; restrict marketing junk food to children; and require healthy school lunches. It can use highly-effective tobacco control strategies to reduce alcoholic beverage consumption, like the world-leading minimum pricing in Scotland. City planning and zoning laws can encourage physical activity, like bike and walking paths, parks and playgrounds, and mass transit. Subsidies could be directed to fruits and vegetables.

Soft drink sales plunged in Philadelphia after soda tax: study
Speaking of sugary beverage taxes, a new study finds that Philadelphia’s decision to put a tax on sugary and artificially-sweetened drinks caused sales to drop by 38 per cent, confirming that putting taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages can drive behaviour changes to improve health. From the piece: "Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages is one of the most effective policy strategies we have to reduce purchases," said Christina Roberto, an assistant professor of health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, adding it was a "public health no-brainer."

‘How will they eat?’ Alarm raised over revamp of Ontario’s welfare program for disabled
In the Star, Laurie Monsebraaten surveyed 86 Torontonians about the Ford government’s plan to narrow the definition of disability for new applicants to the Ontario Disability Support Program. They told her that they fear that there will be homelessness, hospitalization, incarceration and, even suicide, as a result. From the piece: “I am someone who has worked my whole life,” she says. “I want to work (full time). But how are you supposed to get back on your feet when you can’t afford housing or transportation to get to your doctor?