Instead of Scaring Moms, Join Us in Promoting Healthy Eating

9/19/2013 11:34 AM

Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama held a meeting with food companies, media, consumer groups and academics to discuss the impact of marketing unhealthy foods to kids.  In addition to encouraging a decrease in advertising and marketing of “junk foods,” Mrs. Obama repeatedly urged members of the audience to encourage healthy eating among children.   At one point, Mrs. Obama told her audience that “If anyone can get kids to eat their vegetables, it’s you.”

But, at the Alliance, we see something else that needs to change in order to increase consumption – activist groups need to cease inaccurately portraying conventionally grown fruits and veggies as unsafe.  The repeated unfair disparagement of these healthy foods that is often carried in the media directly undermines the efforts by the First Lady and health officials everywhere to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables. 

While efforts  to reduce advertising of unhealthy foods to kids continues, how about encouraging activist groups and marketers to stop calling the fruits and veggies that kids love “dirty” or stating that they are “full of poisons.”  This type of messaging is simply ridiculous, lacks scientific credibility and is unfairly scaring moms who are trying to feed their kids a healthy diet.

The government, health officials, scientists and environmental groups agree that conventionally grown produce is nutritious and safe to eat.  So, let’s drop the scary safety messaging.  Instead, we ask these activist groups to use their considerable resources and join with the Alliance and others to promote this message:  “Choose either conventionally or organically grown fruits and veggies.  Both are very safe and we should all be eating more for improved health.”  Plagiarizing the words of Mrs. Obama, “if anyone can help get kids to eat their fruits and veggies – it’s you.”


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