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February 22nd, 2013:

Cancer Council report slams fast food outlets

Junk Food Pollution …………………..

Report uncovers alarming statistics about our eating habits

22 February, 2013 Brea Carter

Report uncovers alarming statistics about our eating habits

The NSW Cancer Council’s Fast Food: Exposing the Truth report highlights the need for fast food chains to provide customers with food nutrition information. Image:

A report released by the Cancer Council has found that Australians spend nearly one third of their weekly household food budget on fast food and eating out.

This figure highlights that Australian’s spend 50 percent more on fast food and eating than they did six years ago.

The report, entitled Fast Food: Exposing the Truth highlights the need for Australians to rethink their eating habits and food choices, and features a range of recommendations that the may adopt to do so.

It uncovered that the food nutrition information fast food chains display in store varies between states and some brands display such information while others do not.

The report also highlights just how important it is that fast food chains look at reducing the saturated fat, salt and sugar content of their menu items.

Clare Hughes, nutrition program manager at Cancer Council NSW said it is integral that the Federal Government and Australia’s fast food industry work together to improve the health of Australians. She said this can be achieved by introducing mandatory reformulation targets, making food nutrition information labelling consistent across all states and brands, and to tighten up already existing initiatives.

“Mandatory kilojoule labelling has already been introduced in NSW, and this is a step in the right direction. But it needs to be introduced across Australia, with more detailed information also available in store. “Our survey of fast food chains found that customers who wanted to make informed choices were getting different levels of nutrition information depending on where they dined,” she said. She said we are coming to rely on fast food more and more because many of us a time-poor and do not have time to prepare home cooked meals on a regular basis.

“New measures need to be introduced to make it easier to choose healthier foods when we are eating out, and to gradually reduce the levels of kilojoules, fats and salt in fast food.”

She advises that fast food chains display nutrition information just as supermarket products do.

“For years nutrition information panels on packaged foods have helped us to identify healthier choices in the supermarket. We should also have the right to be informed when we’re eating out, with easy access to information to assist consumers in choosing healthier meal options and snacks.”

Even though a number of fast food chains have introduced healthier meal options, the report found customers do not typically opt for these menu items.

Subsequently, she said “we’d like to see firm commitment from both industry and government to reduce the amount of kilojoules, fats, sugars and salt, to make standard menu items healthier.

“We know that obesity and the problems associated with it, such as certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease will continue to spiral out of control if the government doesn’t take action now,” said Hughes.

Cancer Council report slams fast food outlets

February 22, 2013, 8:57 amYahoo!7

Cancer Council NSW calls on the Federal Government and the fast food industry to step up and implement initiatives that make it easier for customers to make healthier fast food choices.

Getty Images

Christine Richmond

Cancer Council NSW calls for mandatory nutritional labelling at fast food outlets

Our nation’s Macca’s habit is growing, according to a new report. Australians are spending 50 per cent more on fast food and eating out than we were just six years ago – we’re now forking over about 28 percent of our household food budget on the stuff, according to the Cancer Council NSW’s new 25-page report “Fast Food: Exposing the Truth.”

Why does the Cancer Council care about fast food? The report comes at a time when more than half of Australian adults and nearly one in four children are overweight or obese.

And carrying extra weight ups your risk of cancers of the bowel, kidney, pancreas, oesophagus, endometrium and breast.

The report argues that nutrition labeling should be mandatory and consistent nationwide, and that menu items should be reformulated to be lower in salt, fat, sugar and kilojoules.

(Gross but true: The average fast food meal provides 47 percent of your daily kilojoule needs.)

The Cancer Council wants to see the Federal Government get involved to make sure these changes are implemented.

Here’s what else the report uncovered:

Looking for nutrition information? Good luck. A Cancer Council survey of 222 fast food stores (including McDonald’s, KFC, Hungry Jack’s, Red Rooster and Subway) found that 34 per cent had no nutrition information available to customers. And only one store had info for every item on the menu.

The highest energy children’s meal had nearly six times more energy than the lowest energy children’s meal.

When healthier options like salads are available, we’re not buying ‘em. The Cancer Council tracked fast food purchases at McDonald’s and found that only 1 per cent came from the healthy menu.

What’s more, research has shown that having healthier menu options can actually boost sales of unhealthy foods. (One explanation: We reward ourselves for eating the salad by ordering dessert.) This is why reformulating menu items so they’re lower in fat, sugar, salt and energy is so important, says the Cancer Council.

Recommendations from Cancer Council NSW

1. The Federal Government should introduce mandatory menu labelling in-store in fast food chains, nationwide.

2. In the absence of nationwide mandatory menu labelling, the fast food industry should ensure that complete nutrition information is always available in-store.

3. Fast food chains should ensure that staff receive training on the provision of nutrition information to customers.

4. The fast food industry should reformulate their menu items to reduce the amount of energy, saturated fat, sugar and sodium.

5. The QSRI Initiative’s nutrient criteria should be revised to ensure that children’s fast food meals do not exceed 30% of children’s daily needs.

6. The Food and Health Dialogue should set targets for voluntary reformulation of fast foods, and move towards mandatory reductions.

7. The fast food industry should promote their healthier menu items in preference to their unhealthy menu items.

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Study links fast food linked to childhood asthma

Study links fast food linked to childhood asthma

Submitted by virginia.addison on Jan 15th 2013, 5:04pm



Agence France-Presse in Paris

Children who frequently eat fast food are far likelier to have severe asthma compared to counterparts who tuck into fruit, a large international study published on Monday said.

Researchers asked nearly half a million teenagers aged 13 to 14 years old and children aged six and seven about their eating habits and whether in the previous year they had experienced wheezing, eczema or an itchy, blocked nose when they did not have a cold or flu. The questionnaires – completed by a parent or guardian for the younger children – were distributed in scores of countries. The study marks the latest phase in a long-running collaborative programme, the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), which was launched in 1991.

The investigators filtered out factors that could skew results, such as maternal smoking during pregnancy, sedentary lifestyle and body-mass index, in order to focus purely on diet. They found that fast food was the only food type that could be clearly linked to asthma severity. Three or more weekly servings of fast food were associated with a 39 per cent increase in the risk of severe asthma among teens and a 27 per cent increase among younger children. It also added to the risk of eczema and severe rhinitis.

In contrast, eating three or more weekly portions of fruit led to a reduction in symptom severity of between 11 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively. The study, which appears in the British Medical Association journal Thorax, notes that to prove an association is not to prove a cause – but argues that a further inquiry is clearly needed. “If the associations [are] causal, then the findings have major public health significance, owing to the rising consumption of fast foods globally,” the authors said. Previous research had found that the saturated and “trans” fatty acids trigger an inflammatory response from the immune system, the paper noted.

Topics:  Fast Food

Source URL (retrieved on Feb 22nd 2013, 7:26am):

SCMP Sunday Morning Post

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hong Kong’s Big Macs fattest in the world
McDonald’s burgers in ‘Asia’s world city’ are cholesterol-crammed, alarming nutritionists

Big Macs served in Hong Kong contain more fat and cholesterol than anywhere else in the world, the Sunday Morning Post can reveal.

The average burger can also lay claim to having the joint highest number of calories – along with those served in the United States,
according to comparisons based on nutritional information posted on McDonald’s website. McChicken burgers and Chicken McNuggets had
similarly high amounts of fat, cholesterol and calories. The findings have drawn concern from nutritionists who point to the close association between a diet high in fat and cholesterol, and heart disease. Some also point to the risk of high blood pressure, and kidney problems because of the high salt content in local Big Macs.

McDonald’s Hong Kong attributed the higher levels to the use of different ingredients suppliers in various parts of the world.

A spokeswoman for the company in Hong Kong said: “The ingredients of McDonald’s food items worldwide are basically the same. The nutritional
composition of items … may vary from country to country as the ingredients are provided from suppliers in different areas.”

According to information posted on McDonald’s website, Hong Kong Big Macs contain 560 calories each – 80 calories more than those eaten by
Australians and 50 calories more than those in the Middle East. They also have 85mg of cholesterol – the highest of any country for which
information is available.

Total fat content of 31 grams means that local burgers have 35 per cent more fat than Big Macs in Britain.

Mandy Sea Man-mei, manager of the Centre for Nutritional Studies at Chinese University’s school of public health, expressed concern over
the amount of salt.

There is 1.07 grams of sodium in each local burger. This is half the amount in burgers eaten by Swedes and the British, but still
constitutes nearly 45 per cent of the daily recommended intake (RDI).

Based on a sodium RDI of 2,400mg and a three-meal day, a person should aim to limit salt intake to 800mg per meal, she said.

“It’s more unhealthy than Big Macs overseas because of the higher fat and sodium levels,” Dr Sea said. She also cautioned that the degree to
which Big Macs in Hong Kong were less healthy than overseas burgers would depend on the amount of saturated fat present, since diets high
in the fats correlated with increased incidence of coronary heart disease and the blocking of arteries.

McDonald’s declined to disclose the amount of saturated fat in its foods in Hong Kong, or provide any other nutritional information on its

However, Georgia Guldan, a nutritionist and associate professor at Chinese University’s biochemistry department, said that an extra 50
calories per day could add 4kg to a person’s weight a year.

She added that the differences between local burgers and those served elsewhere were not large in terms of daily intakes.

Morgan Spurlock’s academy-award-winning documentary Super Size Me drew global attention to health issues associated with McDonald’s food,
particularly to a diet based solely on the outlet’s menu.

Download PDF : Fast-Food-Exposing-the-Truth-22-February-2013

Beijing unveils blueprint to control health risks of toxic chemicals

Submitted by admin on Feb 22nd 2013, 12:00am



Li Jing

For first time, policy blueprint links pollution to rising health threats in industrial areas

The central government has unveiled its first blueprint to control the environmental and health risks of toxic chemicals, and for the first time officially acknowledged the existence of “cancer clusters” due to such pollution.

The blueprint, covering the period from 2011 to 2015 and posted on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, admits that excessive levels of chemical pollutants are already found in the country’s major rivers and lakes, and even in animal and human bodies.

“In recent years, toxic and hazardous chemical pollution has caused many environmental disasters, cutting off drinking water supplies, and even leading to severe health and social problems such as ‘cancer villages’,” the blueprint said.

In recent years, toxic and hazardous chemical pollution has caused many environmental disasters, cutting off drinking water supplies, and even leading to severe health and social problems such as ‘cancer villages

Between 2008 and 2011, more than a half of the 568 environmental emergencies dealt with by the ministry were related to chemicals, official statistics show.

Calling the blueprint “a significant first step”, Liu Jianguo , an associate professor at Peking University, said chemical pollution on the mainland had become “the most severe problem” and one that government could no longer ignore.

Mainland officials were previously reluctant to link pollution levels with rising cancer rates in industrial areas.

Some chemical pollutants can travel long distances and accumulate in the environment and human bodies, disturbing endocrine and immune systems and even causing cancer.

However, the production and use of such chemicals on the mainland has become so widespread due to rapid and chaotic industrial expansion over the past three decades that the government has yet to come to terms with the risks.

A 2010 survey of more than 40,000 plants in the petrochemical, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, conducted by the ministry, found 40 per cent posed a severe threat to public health, the blueprint said.

For instance, 23 per cent of the plants were located five kilometres or less upstream of drinking water sources or agricultural land. About 15,000 were near residential areas.

But such information is not yet available for other industrial sectors, with the blueprint admitting that no official statistics were available on the number and location of chemical emission sources, or their impact on human health.

The blueprint aims to establish a sound information system on chemical production and use by 2015 and start to register all enterprises involved in producing, using, transporting and discharging hazardous chemical pollutants, following international practice.

It also lists 58 types of chemicals that will be under specific control, including those that could damage human health or cause environmental accidents.

Wu Yixiu , a Beijing-based Greenpeace campaigner, said it was the first time the authorities had proposed monitoring the environmental impact of chemicals.

However, experts are not optimistic about the impact of the blueprint because the production of some chemicals that were banned or restricted in developed countries was still rising on the mainland, with manufacturing having moved to China. Wu said the blueprint still failed to set out a timetable to phase out some highly toxic chemicals, and that would send a stronger signal to producers and users than merely putting them on a watch list.


Water Pollution

Chemical Pollution



More on this:

China’s water still unfit to drink after multibillion-yuan clean-up [1]

Mainland editorial declares war on water pollution [2]

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