A recent investigation by the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail has revealed a secret campaign by the beverage industry to fight the removal of juice from the country’s new food guide.
The report says an intense lobbying effort by the beverage industry is trying to make it seem like a grassroots movement is defending juice as both a healthy food choice and as an important source of jobs for Canadians.
The current Canadian Food Guide, not updated since 2007, says that half a cup of 100% juice can be a substitute for a piece of whole fruit. The Canadian government has announced proposals to remove 100% juice from the food guide and to require prominent labeling of the sugar content in all juice.
An 8-oz glass of juice can have the same amount of sugar as the equivalent amount of soda pop.
The story notes the beverage lobby has been orchestrating letter-writing campaigns and behind closed doors meetings “to create the appearance of a grassroots movement and a larger chorus of voices than actually exists” to defend juice as part of a “healthy balanced diet.” Dr. David Hammond, a professor of public health at the University of Waterloo said:
I would say the juice industry is acting equally as forcefully as tobacco companies to protect their interests.